Japan's Shocking Eugenics Law: Forced Sterilization of Children as Young as Nine

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  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 06/21/2023
A eugenics law in Japan was in effect from 1948 to 1996, and the country's parliament has just released a disturbing report detailing the program of forced sterilization that it authorized. After three years of research, the 1,400-page report concluded that children as young as nine were sterilized to prevent them from having "inferior" offspring, as reported by the BBC. Roughly 25,000 people were sterilized through the program, with 16,000 of those being coerced sterilizations, according to the report. Starting in 1948, the program assisted those who suffered from physical or mental impairments or from genetic diseases.


The Japan Times reports that the report claims sterilization is sometimes a precondition for marriage. Authorities misled some patients into undergoing the procedure by claiming their procedures were nothing more than "routine" appendix removals. People who were forcibly sterilized in 2019 were eligible to receive government payments of approximately $22,000. Some of the victims are filing monetary compensation claims. An 80-year-old woman who was sterilized at the age of 14 spoke out after the report's release on Monday, saying that the government "had been doing terrible things by deceiving children." I hope the government stops hiding this problem and starts to take our hardships seriously as soon as possible.

However, the report "did not reveal why the law was created, why it took 48 years to amend it, or why the victims were not compensated," as Koji Niisato, co-head of a group of lawyers representing victims, put it.

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