• Jiji


A 63-year-old Japanese man filed a lawsuit on Friday to track down his birth parents after he was accidentally switched at birth at a maternity hospital in Tokyo.

Satoshi Egura, from Adachi Ward in the Japanese capital, filed the suit with Tokyo District Court, demanding that the metropolitan government launch an investigation to identify his biological parents.

According to Egura’s lawyer, it is the first lawsuit in Japan seeking an investigation into the whereabouts of biological parents after a mix-up.

“I want to know who I am,” Egura told a news conference after filing the suit.

According to the suit, the woman who raised Egura gave birth to a boy at a metropolitan government-run maternity hospital on April 10, 1958. The boy was cared for in a newborn nursery.

Egura, who was born at around the same time, was brought to the woman’s hospital room on April 14 instead of the boy by accident. The woman and her husband, now deceased, raised Egura believing he was their biological child.

Egura and the woman, now 89, began suspecting a swap at the maternity hospital after the woman learned her blood type following a hospital stay in 1997. Her blood type was B, while her husband’s was O, which made it impossible for their child to be type A, which is Egura’s blood type.

A DNA test in 2004 revealed that Egura and his parents were not biologically related.

Egura and his parents took the metropolitan government to court that year, demanding damages. Tokyo District Court rejected the demand, but Tokyo High Court reversed the ruling in October 2006, ordering the metropolitan government to pay a total of ¥20 million.

Although Tokyo paid the damages, it has declined to cooperate on tracking down Egura’s birth parents.

In the latest suit, the plaintiff’s side argued that his right to know about his birth is protected under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, which the Japanese government has ratified.

Egura is demanding that Tokyo identify his biological parents or their heirs and investigate whether they are willing to exchange contact information with him. He is also seeking ¥16.5 million in compensation for its refusal to cooperate.

Tokyo’s Office of Metropolitan Hospital Management declined to comment about the suit.

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