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Bill to redress victims sterilized under eugenics law undergoes final adjustments

TOKYO -- Japan's ruling and opposition parties are making final adjustments to a relief bill to pay a lump sum of 3 million yen to victims that were forcibly sterilized due to disabilities under the now defunct eugenic protection law (1948-1996).

The draft will be officially announced on March 14 at the earliest. Lawmakers from ruling and opposition parties will submit the draft to the Diet as early as the beginning of April, aiming for its enactment during the same month.

All victims -- expect for those who underwent sterilization surgery with a clear purpose, such as for the treatment of a disease -- will be redressed as the bill aims to provide wide-ranging relief.

Diet members involved in its drafting mulled the bill using a case in Sweden, which had a similar law until 1975, as a reference. The lump sum that the Swedish government paid out to victims for compensation is equivalent to about 3 million yen at current value.

Some members of the ruling and opposition parties argue that the redress payment amount should be raised. This is because about 10 million yen to 38.5 million yen is demanded as state compensation for each victim, in cases pending in seven district courts across Japan.

However, it is expected that the redress payment amount will be finalized at 3 million yen. "It is difficult to raise the amount without a rational reason," explained a ruling party member.

(Japanese original by Hiroyuki Harada and Miyuki Fujisawa, Medical Welfare News Department)

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