Japan warns against telling people to be sterilized

Japan warns against telling people to be sterilized

The welfare ministry has issued a reminder to local authorities across Japan that it is illegal for service providers to tell people with disabilities they must be sterilized to use their services, as well as the main office of Asunaro Social Welfare Service Corp. is located in Esashi, the main office of Asunaro Social Welfare Service Corp.

The move follows revelations last year that a group home in Hokkaido for people with intellectual disabilities run by a social welfare corporation recommended couples living together or marrying to be sterilized or undertake other birth control measures.

Eight couples had undergone sterilization procedures at the recommendation of the Asunaro Social Welfare Service Corp., which had recommended sterilizations to its clientele for some two and a half decades.

Welfare minister Katsunobu Kato said on January 23 that the notice requested authorities to make sure that local services for people with disabilities are appropriate and respect their will and dignity.

The notice, dated Jan. 20, asks local authorities to immediately notify the ministry if an organization makes sterilization a condition for people with disabilities to use its services.

It said people with disabilities are entitled to make their own decisions on marriage, giving birth and raising children.

It should not be allowed for organizations to only provide support to disabled people on the condition that they can't give birth or raise children because of their disability, the notice said.

It asked that authorities thoroughly investigate and provide guidance to service providers if they suspect that anything illegal is taking place.

Kato announced at the same time that the ministry is planning to conduct research into the marriages, pregnancies, childbirths and childrearing of people with disabilities to better understand their realities. A ministry official said that the ministry will look at how it can better support people with disabilities.

The official said that they hadn't grasped their realities well enough because they fall through cracks in the system.