Japanese switched at birth wins suit against hospital over hardship

TOKYO (AFP) - A Japanese court ordered a hospital Tuesday to pay 38 million yen (S$468,500) in damages to a man who was switched at birth and suffered hardship in his life as a result.

The man had been given to the wrong family upon birth at the hospital in 1953.

He lost his non-biological father at the age of two, studied at night school while working in a factory and ended up employed by a transport company, the Tokyo district court said in a ruling quoted by Kyodo News.

The other man involved in the switch went on to university.

But his three younger brothers felt he did not look like them and confirmed through DNA testing in 2009 that they were not related, the news agency said.

After checked the hospital records they discovered who their real older brother was in 2012.

The three, together with the genuine older brother, sued the hospital for 250 million yen.

Judge Masatoshi Miyasaka cut the size of the award but said he recognised the plaintiff had lost a chance of higher education and had suffered emotional pain.

"The plaintiff had no contact with his real family for a long time and has no chance to contact his real parents who have already died," the judge said, according to Kyodo.

"I feel sympathy for his great disappointment."