Voices From Survivors of Forced Sterilisations in Japan

Eugenics Protection Law 1948–1996

Authored by: Nagase Osamu

The Routledge Handbook of Disability Activism

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815349303
eBook ISBN: 9781351165082
Adobe ISBN:


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It took courageous individuals and a devoted team of lawyers to change Japanese national awareness regarding the forced sterilisations executed under the Eugenics Protection Law that was enacted from 1948 to 1996. Before the first court case in January 2018, few people outside of the disability community were aware of and paid much attention to this serious human rights violation, that made more than 16,500 persons ‘sterilised’ without their consent. However, the landscape has changed, thanks to their audacity. A number of survivors of sterilisations have come forward and sued the government. The first court case also has galvanised the media into action and massive reporting on this issue. Their voices have reached the political space. Now the government is considering apology and compensation. This brief chapter does not go into the historic background of eugenics in Japan, but focuses on the voices of those who have made these changes through social action, including strategic litigations, asking for apology and compensation for survivors. 1

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