woman in shadow
Disabled woman who had her reproductive capacity removed to sue Japan government - Representational image iStock

A Japanese woman, who underwent forced sterilisation on the grounds of her intellectual disability, is planning to sue the Japan government and is also demanding an apology and a compensation.

The woman in her 60s has planned to file the lawsuit with Sendai District Court in January. She was among around 84,000 people who were sterilised under the country's now-defunct Eugenic Protection Law, which was put in place in 1948 to prevent the "birth of inferior offspring" and those with life-threatening diseases.

The programme was also aimed to nominally limit the births of children born out of rape incidents.

While most of the sterilisations were carried out after the approval of the concerned person's family, there were reportedly some cases where the operations were done without consent. Some 16,000 people are thought to have been sterilised without permission in post-war Japan, RT News reported.

The woman, whose name has not been revealed, was allegedly one of them. The Japan Times reported that the lawsuit will be the first filed against the government over forced sterilisation as the elderly woman's case is reportedly particularly egregious.

She allegedly suffered brain damage in early childhood due to a medical procedure gone wrong. Her family claims that they do not suffer from any genetic disorder, while documents from that time revealed reasons for the surgery were listed as "hereditary intellectual disability".

"What she experienced was nothing but inhumanity and a disregard for human rights. Somebody should speak up to redress such suffering because the victims are getting older," the sister-in-law of the woman said, adding the plaintiff was just 15 when she underwent the procedure.

According to reports, in her lawsuit the woman is planning to claim she was deprived of a married life as potential suitors did not want a wife who would not be able to bear children. In addition to that, she will also claim that her dignity as an individual was violated by the inhuman law.

Koji Niisato, the lawyer representing the woman's family, said: "We are going to dispute the appropriateness of the Eugenic Protection Law, which we believe deprived disabled people of their right to determine whether they want to reproduce.

"We are also going to pursue the responsibility of the state, which still has not provided compensation for the human rights violations."

Koji said that the amount of the compensation is yet to be decided and added that they are planning to launch a telephone consultation service for people who have suffered the same situation, with the possibility of filing a group lawsuit under consideration, RT News reported.

Although the law was amended into the Maternal Body Protection Law in 1996 after the elimination of discriminatory clauses, the shadow of the notorious legislation still haunts Japan.

Both the UN and the Japan Federation of Bar Associations have recently come forward in support of the victims of the eugenics program and recommended the government to compensate the victims. However, the Japanese government had reportedly showed less interest towards the issue and claimed that most of whom responsible for the inhuman procedure are long-retired or dead.