March 11 2022
TOKYO – Tokyo High Court overturned a lower court ruling Friday, ordering the Japanese government to pay 15 million yen in damages to a 78-year-old man over forced sterilization under the now-defunct eugenic protection law.
Tokyo High Court Presiding Judge Yutaka Hirata concluded that the eugenic protection law was unconstitutional. The plaintiff, a Tokyo resident, had demanded the government pay damages of 30 million yen.
The verdict is the second ruling by a Japanese court acknowledging state responsibility to pay compensation over forced sterilization, after Osaka High Court handed down a similar ruling last month. In both cases, the 20-year statute of limitations on compensation claims was not applied.
Judge Hirata said that the law in question was “based on discriminatory ideologies and clearly violated the Constitution.” The government has responsibility for paying compensation as the former health ministry actively promoted sterilization operations, he said.
The judge pointed out that many of the victims were discriminated against by being subject to such operations for certain diseases or disabilities and that they suffered mental and physical pain through forced castration.