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Health ministry confirms names of 3,033 forced sterilization victims

The Central Government Building No. 5 in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward that houses the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is seen in this file photo taken on Oct. 14, 2015. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- As many as 3,033 people were identified by name as being forcibly sterilized under the now-defunct eugenics law (1948-1996), according to a report by the health ministry to a ruling coalition working group considering support for the victims.

The number was just 12 percent of the some 25,000 people who were recorded by the ministry as having undergone the surgical procedures targeting people with disabilities.

The working group comprising the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and its junior coalition partner Komeito intends to provide redress to people who do not have records of having undergone such operations, and its next challenge will be how to decide who is eligible for compensation.

The list of names was compiled based on records provided by prefectural governments following a request in April by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare. Under the eugenics law, the consent of the patient was not required to carry out the surgeries under certain circumstances, and some 16,500 people were forcibly sterilized in this way. However, the ministry was able to find only 6,066 applications to conduct the procedure, now considered inhumane, of which 5,676 were approved. Of these, records of 4,987 people receiving these surgeries have been found, though only 3,033 of their names could be confirmed.

Records of about 1,709 people who were said to have given consent for the procedure were discovered, but their names were not included in the papers.

The health ministry said it is possible some names were counted twice or more, and intends to announce as early as October the result of another inquiry into the forced sterilization operation victims.

(Japanese original by Ai Yokota, Medical Welfare News Department)

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