A woman in her 60s is seeking 11 million yen (£72,000) claiming she was forcibly sterilized after being diagnosed with a mental health issue at the age of 15, in violation of her basic human rights. Additionally, the woman noted the state had provided no support to her at the time, according to documents she submitted to a court in the city of Sendai, Kyodo News reported.
The unnamed plaintiff is one of an estimated 16,000 people with hereditary diseases, mental illnesses and intellectual disabilities who were sterilized across Japan between 1949 and 1992 under the dubious Eugenic Protection Law aimed at "preventing the birth of inferior offspring."
The law was renamed the Maternal Health Law when eugenics provisions were deleted in 1996.
Earlier this month, a number of archived records came to light, showing the patients being specifically screened ahead of the procedure, as well as how the authorities pried into family tree diagrams to conclude which ones in the family should be refused the right to reproduce, The Asahi Shimbun wrote.
Germany and Sweden also had similar measures, but have since apologized to victims and provided compensation, as opposed to Japan.
In 2016, the UN committee on the elimination of discrimination against women strongly advised Japan to adopt plausible measures to assist victims of forced sterilizations and provide them with "legal remedies, compensation and rehabilitative services."