One day when Saburo Kita was 14, he was taken from an institution for troubled children to see a doctor. Despite protesting that his health was fine, he was ordered to strip, lie down on a table, and was given a local anesthetic. Then the surgery began. He was left with a thick, v-shaped scar on his lower body and questions about what had happened. Months later, talking with a friend, he learned that he had been sterilized. So had two others from the same institution in Miyagi, northern Japan. “There was no explanation, ever,” said Kita, now 75, who uses the pseudonym in media to avoid questions from his late wife’s family. “I was left with a body that couldn’t create children.” But he did not realize until January that his surgery was part of a government program to prevent the birth of so-called “inferior descendants” that saw tens of thousands sterilized, often without their consent, under a law not revoked until 1996. Most were physically or cognitively disabled. But others suffered from leprosy – curable, and now known as Hansen’s disease – mental illness or simply had behavioral problems. Kita had been sent to an institution for fighting… Read full this story
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