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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

'They stole my life away': women forcibly sterilised by Japan speak out

Daniel Hurst
The Guardian
Originally published April 3, 2018

Here is an excerpt:

Between 1948 and 1996, about 25,000 people were sterilised under the law, including 16,500 who did not consent to the procedure. The youngest known patients were just nine or 10 years old. About 70% of the cases involved women or girls.

Yasutaka Ichinokawa, a sociology professor at the University of Tokyo, says psychiatrists identified patients whom they thought needed sterilisation. Carers at nursing homes for people with intellectual disabilities also had sterilisation initiatives. Outside such institutions, the key people were local welfare officers known as Minsei-iin.

“All of them worked with goodwill, and they thought sterilisations were for the interests of the people for whom they cared, but today we must see this as a violation of the reproductive rights of people with disabilities,” Ichinokawa says.

After peaking at 1,362 cases in a single year in the mid-1950s, the figures began to decline in tandem with a shift in public attitudes.

In 1972, the government triggered protests by proposing an amendment to the Eugenic Protection Law to allow pregnant women with disabled foetuses to have induced abortions.

The information is here.