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Relief bill for eugenics victims falls far short of being adequate

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Draft bipartisan legislation to compensate people who were sterilized under a widespread and decades-long eugenics program that stretched into the 1990s falls far short of its objective of providing satisfactory relief to victims.

Both the ruling and opposition parties should take seriously the chorus of complaints and protests arising among victims.

The ruling coalition’s working group and a nonpartisan group of lawmakers have together worked out the bill. The lawmakers plan to submit the bill to the Diet in April with an eye to enacting and swiftly implementing the measure.

Under the program, which was based on the Eugenic Protection Law, thousands of people with physical, intellectual or mental disabilities were forcibly sterilized until the law was abolished in 1996.

The legislation would provide lump-sum payments of 3.2 million yen ($28,600) to each of the victims in response to their applications for relief, which would, in principle, be screened by a panel of experts.

But the requests for compensation would be handled in a flexible manner. In cases where authentic documents proving the eligibility of applicants are presented, for instance, the screening........

© The Asahi Shimbun