October 16th 2018
A total of 109 hearing-impaired people were forced to undergo 127 cases of sterilization operations or abortions under a postwar eugenics law, according to an ongoing investigation by the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD).
The latest interim results were published by the JFD on Oct. 15 on its website. Of those, 70 people were reported in June.
After cases of forced sterilization made national headlines in early 2018, the federation launched an investigation among people with hearing loss in March, and contacted those concerned or their family members through the JFD’s prefectural member groups.
The latest results included 83 female and 26 male victims. In a number of cases, women were forced to have an abortion and then a sterilization procedure to prevent another pregnancy.
Of the 127 cases uncovered so far, 46 were sterilization operations on women, 26 were on men, 39 were abortions and 16 were cases where respondents did not know what type of procedures were taken.
Little documentation was found that indicated whether the surgeries were done in accordance with the eugenics law, or whether individual consent was given.
Under the Eugenic Protection Law, which took effect in 1948, authorities were allowed to compel people with certain conditions, such as mental disorders, hereditary diseases and Hansen’s disease, to undergo sterilization procedures without their consent.
The law was renamed the Maternal Health Law when eugenics provisions were removed in 1996.