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Japanese court orders government to pay damages over forced sterilization

The Japanese government was ordered Monday to pay damages to two people over their forced sterilization under a now-defunct eugenics protection law in the first such ruling by a district court.

The Kumamoto District Court found the 1948 law unconstitutional and awarded a total of ¥22 million ($170,000) in compensation to the plaintiffs, Kazumi Watanabe, 78, and a 76-year-old woman. It is the third case in which damages were awarded, after two high courts overturned lower court decisions.

According to the complaint, Watanabe was diagnosed with osteoarthritis as a child, and was forced to have his testicles removed without his consent. Meanwhile, the woman had an abortion and had her fallopian tubes tied to prevent future pregnancy when she was in her 20s, after a doctor told her that her fetus may have a disability.

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