Japan apologises to tens of thousands of sterilisation law victims

Japan’s government has apologised to tens of thousands of people who were forcibly sterilised under a now-defunct eugenics law designed to “prevent the birth of poor-quality descendants”, and promised to pay compensation.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Picture: David Mareuil
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Picture: David Mareuil

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga offered “sincere remorse and heartfelt apology” to the victims.

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It came after parliament enacted legislation to provide redress measures, including 3.2 million yen (about £22,000) compensation for each victim.

An estimated 25,000 people were given unconsented sterilisation while the 1948 Eugenics Protection Law was in place until 1996.

The law was quietly renamed as the Maternity Protection Law in 1996 when the discriminatory condition was removed.