Kumamoto district court to issue ruling over forced sterilization

A Japanese court is set to issue a ruling in a case of forced sterilization under the now-defunct Eugenic Protection Law.

A 78-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman in Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, sued the government, saying they were forced to undergo sterilization procedures between the 1950s and the 1970s on the grounds of disabilities.

The plaintiffs are each demanding 33 million yen, or about 255,000 dollars, in compensation for what they describe as a grave human rights violation.

The government argues that the plaintiffs no longer have a right to seek damages because they filed their suit more than 20 years after being sterilized.

But the plaintiffs stress that it was difficult to file a suit earlier because there had been discrimination and prejudice.

The Kumamoto district court is expected to hand down a ruling on Monday afternoon.

Similar lawsuits have been filed at 10 courts across Japan. Lower courts found the forced sterilization unconstitutional but dismissed the claims, citing the period of exclusion. But high courts in Tokyo and Osaka ordered the state to compensate the plaintiffs.