National / Crime & Legal

Court orders hospital payout for man switched at birth

Kyodo

The Tokyo District Court ordered a hospital Tuesday to pay ¥38 million in damages to a 60-year-old Tokyo man for hardships suffered after he was found to have been switched at birth.

The incident occurred in 1953, with the man losing his non-biological father at the age of 2, the court said in its ruling. He went on to study at a night high school while working at a factory. He was later employed by a transportation company.

The other man involved in the switch went on to study at university. However, his three younger brothers felt that he didn’t resemble them and confirmed through DNA testing in 2009 that they were not related. They then checked hospital records and discovered their real older brother in 2012.

The three, together with their real older brother, filed a suit asking the hospital to pay ¥250 million in damages.

Presiding Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka, though lowering the amount of damages, recognized the plaintiff as having lost the chance to attend university and having suffered emotional pain.

“The plaintiff had no contact with his real family for a long time and has no chance to contact his real parents who have already died,” the judge said. “I feel sympathy for his great disappointment.”

Sanikukai, a social welfare corporation that runs the hospital, said it is examining the ruling and considering how to respond.

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