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143 people in Wakayama Pref. believed to have undergone forced eugenic sterilization: docs

WAKAYAMA -- At least 143 people in Wakayama Prefecture are believed to have undergone forced sterilization surgery under the Eugenic Protection Law (1948-1996), prefectural government documents show.

Statistics compiled by the former Health and Welfare Ministry and other entities show that 103 people in the prefecture, mostly disabled people, received forced sterilization surgery under the law. However, the latest revelations point to the possibility that the number is much larger than that.

The Wakayama Prefectural Government's health promotion division declined to comment on the gap between the estimated number of those who were subject to eugenic operations suggested by the prefectural government documents and national government statistics.

"We don't understand why (there is such a gap). We'd like to wait to see the outcome of a central government probe," an official said.

The Mainichi Shimbun gained access to prefectural government lists of 193 people who were supposed to undergo eugenic operations from 1949 to 1985.

Dates when such operations were performed were written for 127 of the listed individuals. According to the prefectural government's health promotion division, of the 127 patients, 109 women and 12 men were in their early teens to their 40s while the gender and other details of the six others remain unclear.

The documents also show that the amounts of operation charges and hospitalization fees paid to medical institutions or other costs are specified for 16 other patients, showing that there is a high possibility that these patients underwent forced surgery.

It remains unclear whether the other patients actually received eugenic operations.

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