It was a report meant to draw a line under Japan’s tragic history with eugenics and forced sterilizations. But even with its voluminous length, the landmark parliamentary report on the former Eugenic Protection Law leaves several crucial questions unanswered — and poses several more about a society that let such practices continue as long as they did.
On June 19, the 1,400-page report by parliament on forced sterilizations of people with disabilities was published on the websites of the Lower and Upper houses.
It is the first official account of how the now-defunct Eugenic Protection Law came into being in 1948, and how it legitimized the sterilization of some 25,000 men and women, mostly with mental and intellectual disabilities, as well as those with hereditary diseases. The surgeries were often performed without consent — using deception and unsafe methods — to “prevent the birth of inferior offspring.”