A southwestern Japan court ordered the Japanese government to compensate a total of ¥22 million in damages over the forced sterilization of two people under the then-existing Eugenic Protection Law on January 23.
The Kumamoto District Court found the 1948 law unconstitutional and awarded 22 million yen ($170,000) in compensation to the plaintiffs, Kazumi Watanabe, 78, and a 76-year-old woman. It is the third case in which damages were awarded after two high courts overturned lower court decisions.
The Kumamoto court was the third court, after Osaka and Tokyo high courts, and the first among district courts in the country to order the government to pay damages in a series of forced sterilization lawsuits.
According to the complaint, Watanabe was diagnosed with osteoarthritis as a child and was forced to have his testicles removed without his consent. Meanwhile, the woman had an abortion and had her fallopian tubes tied to prevent future pregnancy in her 20s after a doctor told her that her fetus might have a disability.
The court ruled that a statute of limitations of 20 years for an unlawful act under the civil code did not apply to the case, as victims had been unable to file lawsuits over an extended period amid the lack of an investigation by the government into the surgeries and consideration of relief measures, Nakatsuji said.