Japan: Man swapped at birth wins damages

Japanese baby - stock photo

A 60-year-old man switched at birth from his rich parents to a poor family has been given compensation, it's reported.

The Tokyo man will be paid 32m yen ($313,265) by social welfare corporation San-Ikukai, which runs the hospital where he was born in March 1953. Hospital staff mistakenly thought he was the son of a couple whose own baby was born 13 minutes later, says the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

The mix-up "caused mental distress by depriving him of an opportunity to gain a higher education although his original family was wealthy", said Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka. While his biological siblings - and the boy brought up in his place - attended private high schools and universities, the unnamed man grew up in a family reliant on welfare. He graduated from junior high school and now works as a truck driver.

The compensation also covers the fact that he was denied contact with his family for almost six decades. The switch was only uncovered after his biological parents died. Their sons, who realised their oldest brother looked different to the rest of the family, began to investigate hospital records. A DNA test in 2009 confirmed the Tokyo man was indeed a blood relative.

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