December 10th 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan’s ruling and opposition parties will aim to submit to the Diet around April a bill that would allow for the provision of redress to victims of forced sterilization under a now-defunct eugenics law, lawmakers said Monday.
Under a policy agreed the same day by a task force made up of members of the ruling parties and a cross-party lawmakers’ group, victims will be provided a lump-sum payment and an apology offered by the state and the Diet. The exact sum of the payment is yet to be decided.
The eugenics protection law, which was in place from 1948 to 1996, authorized the sterilization of people with intellectual disabilities, mental illness or hereditary disorders to prevent births of “inferior” offspring.
About 25,000 people with disabilities were sterilized under the law, including some 16,500 who received surgery without their consent, according to the health ministry and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.
The envisioned bill will have a preamble which says, “We sincerely reflect on and deeply apologize for the great physical and mental suffering” inflicted.
The lawmakers said the apology comes from the Diet which enacted the eugenics law, and the government which carried out the sterilizations under the law. But the bill does not make mention of the law’s constitutionality.
The amount of compensation to be awarded to victims is expected to be decided shortly before the bill is submitted during the regular Diet session, likely to start from late January.
So far, more than a dozen people have filed lawsuits at courts nationwide seeking compensation from the state. The parties have been working on compiling relief measures to the victims ahead of court rulings.