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Kobe hospital under fire for publication submission lauding past forced sterilizations

KOBE -- Hyogo Prefectural Kobe Children's Hospital is under fire from over 45 organizations for people with disabilities and civic groups nationwide for a statement published in an anniversary publication last year exalting the forced sterilization of people with psychiatric disorders and intellectual disabilities performed there in the past.

The contribution in question was that of Kyoichi Ogawa, the honorary hospital director, where he recalled the founding of the hospital in 1970. Ogawa wrote that based on the belief that "once disabilities appear in children, it's already too late," then Hyogo Gov. Motohito Kanai 'launched policies to prevent the birth of unhappy children,'" which developed into a unique prefectural residents' movement.

The Hyogo Prefectural Government started the movement to prevent the birth of "unhappy" children in 1966. Children with disabilities or genetic diseases were deemed "children shouldering miserable conditions," and the prefecture began covering the costs of forcefully performing sterilization surgeries on those with psychiatric disorders and intellectual disabilities as "birth control." The movement spread across Japan, but was heavily opposed by organizations of people with disabilities, and the Hyogo Prefectural Government closed their policy division in 1974.

In response to a Mainichi Shimbun request to the general administration division of the hospital for comment, a representative explained, "We simply published the transcript we were given, and are not in a position to evaluate the contents."

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