Japan court orders another forced sterilization payout

A Japanese court is ordering the government to compensate two people who were forcibly sterilized because of a disability. This is the third such ruling in under a year.

The sterilization procedures were ordered under the Eugenic Protection Law --- scrapped in the 1990s.

The plaintiffs are a 78-year-old man and a 76-year-old woman in Kumamoto Prefecture. Each was sterilized more than 40 years ago. The government argued they waited too long to file a suit and the statute of limitations had passed.

The Kumamoto District Court dismissed that argument, saying the law clearly violated the Constitution and was both discriminatory and inhumane.

The court ordered damages of 170,000 dollars split between the elderly plaintiffs, an amount well below what they requested.

One of the plaintiffs, Watanabe Kazumi, said, "I felt for the first time in my life that I'm very glad to be alive. I had a hard life and hid in the shadows of society for a long time."

Similar lawsuits are still pending before the courts.