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"Japan Acknowledges Sterilizing Women"

19970918 『ワシントン・ポスト』(国際面)

last update: 20151221

Japan Acknowledges Sterilizing Women

 19970918 『ワシントン・ポスト』(国際面)

TOKYO -- More than 16,500 handicapped Japanese women were involuntarily ster
ilized with government approval from 1949 to 1995, an official said, but the
government does not plan to apologize, offer compensation to the victims or
their families, or conduct an investigation.

The admission came one day after 17 citizens' groups that represent women or
the handicapped demanded that the Health and Welfare Ministry investigate ca
ses of involuntary sterilization.

Over the years, a few Japanese women have claimed they were sterilized witho
ut their consent while housed in public institutions for the handicapped or
retarded. But their claims did not gain much attention until last month, whe
n it was discovered that as many as 60,000 people had been involuntarily ste
rilized in Sweden, and Stockholm apologized.

Japan legalized sterilization in 1948 as a means of improving the human spec
ies through the control of hereditary factors. The law, which was revoked on
ly last year, allowed doctors to sterilize people with mental or physical ha
ndicaps without their consent, after obtaining the approval of local governm

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