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Number of deaf people found to be sterilized under eugenics law rises to 109: survey

TOKYO -- A total of 109 men and women with impaired hearing underwent forced sterilization, the results of a second interim report of a Japanese Federation of the Deaf survey has found.

The results were released on the group's website on Oct. 15, and the tally of those forced to undergo the operation rose by 39 people compared to the 70 people announced in June. The number is expected to rise as the federation continues its investigation.

However, there are no records for many of the victims, and the group says that confirming if a sterilization surgery took place under the now-defunct eugenic protection law (1948-1996) or not "cannot be confirmed."

The federation has branches in all 47 prefectures across the country, and the results in this interim report include that of 22 of those branches. While 11 of those offices responded that conducting the survey would be "difficult," the investigation of the remaining 14 branches is still ongoing.

According to the announcement, 26 men and 83 women underwent operations. Of the women, 46 were sterilized and 39 had abortions performed, and one individual had abortions performed a total of five times. In the prefectures of Nagano and Toyama in central Japan, and Osaka, Hyogo and Yamaguchi in western Japan, there were at least seven women reported to have been sterilized following the abortion procedures.

Leading up to the surgery, 31 people "had the operation recommended or forced upon them by close relatives or those related to deaf schools," while five people were sterilized as a result of "not being able to make their own decision due to false information."

It was also found that there were people who were denied marriage or childbearing due to their disability, or had the child they bore put up for adoption.

(Japanese original by Kenichi Omura, General Digital News Center)

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