October 2nd 2018
According to the former eugenics protection law, people were compelled to undergo sterilization surgery (eugenic surgery) due to disability, mental illness, etc. Now some of those people are suing the Japanese Government.
At the Kobe District Court on September 28th, two couples with hearing impairments sued the country for compensation. Hyogo prefecture was one of the prefectures that is particularly aggressive in sterilization surgery in the whole country.
Regarding this case reporters browsed old documents and documents from Hyogo prefecture.
“The feeling that I want children who are unfortunate not to be born is “not only a mothers but also everyone’s wishes.”
At the beginning of the collection of materials prepared by the Hyogo Prefectural Government in 1966, the director of the prefectural health department at that time found such a sentence. In this year, the prefecture began pioneering a scheme that would affect the whole country and started the “unfortunate child should not be born exercise”. Disabled children and children with genetic diseases were viewed as “unhappy children” and the prefecture promoted measures in favor of forced sterilization surgery.
The policy of Hyogo prefecture at this time clearly states that the policy was to “seek medical assistance from physicians to aggressively perform eugenic surgery by doctor’s application, and guidance and awareness of stakeholders”. It was also recorded that a system to subsidize the costs of forced sterilization surgery was introduced depending on the type of disability.
The 70-year-old couple who filed a lawsuit against the Kobe District Court said that her husband had undergone sterilization surgery before her marriage. It is exactly the middle of the “exercise”.
The governor of Hyogo at the time was Masahiko Kanai ( now deceased) was the former Ministry of Home Affairs. The idea of unfortunate child should not be born exercise”, became a kind of movement. ‘During Governor Kanai’s time in office, he visited Shiga Prefecture’s severely disabled and mentally disabled child’s facility, “I forgot to smile or go around, I was deprived of pleasure … by the miserable figure I saw.”
According to the same booklet, Governor Kanai himself stood at the “head” of the movement himself, and in 1969 the actual situation of the measures was “played” (reported) to the Emperor Showa. Among the booklets are touched on the situation at the time that “I am already trying to spread to national movement”.
As society’s interest in the rights of persons with disabilities increased, the “exercise” was reviewed in the mid-70s, and in the prefecture the surgery was stopped at the end of the two cases in 1978. However, in 1989 it was found that the prefectural government continued to distribute applications for surgery to psychiatric hospitals and so on, criticized and stopped. It exposed the depth of the problem.