Japan PM Kishida Accepts Supreme Court Ruling on Forced Sterilizations, Pledges Prompt Payment of Damages

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks to reporters at the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, responding to the Supreme Court’s decision that a now-defunct law allowing forced sterilizations was unconstitutional and that the government was liable for damages, accepted the ruling and expressed sympathy for the victims.

“I accept this decision with great weight,” Kishida told reporters on Wednesday at the Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo. “Many people have suffered tremendous physical and mental anguish. The government sincerely regrets what happened and expresses its deepest apologies.”

Kishida indicated that compensation would be promptly paid out based on the court’s ruling over the since-scrapped Eugenic Protection Law.

Regarding relief for victims, a redress law enacted in April 2019 stipulated a one-off payment of ¥3.2 million for each plaintiff.

Kishida has instructed his ministers to come up with a new compensation plan as soon as possible, with a view to amending the redress law during the extraordinary Diet session this autumn to increase the compensation.

Kishida also expressed an intention to meet with plaintiffs sometime this month, saying, “I would like to hear first hand about their painful experiences and thoughts, and convey directly to them words of regret and apology.”