Obituary: Dr. Yerker Andersson, WFD Honorary President

Dr. Yerker Andersson, Honorary President of World Federation of the Deaf, passed away on July 18th 2016, in Frederick, Maryland, United States. Dr. Andersson served two terms of WFD Vice President (1975-1983) and three terms of the WFD presidency (1983-1995), devoting himself to networking deaf associations around the globe to expand their participation to WFD, as well as to protecting human rights of the deaf persons through international organizations including the United Nations (UN). He is the first deaf person addressing in the UN General Assembly in 1992. We, Japanese Federation of the Deaf, send our deepest deference to his commitment and profound condolences to his loss.

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President’s message in enforcing “Act for Eliminating Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities” and “Amended Act on Promotion for Disabled Persons’ Employment” starting on April 1st, 2016

Message in Japanese Sign Language:

Message in International Sign:

Flash report – March 3rd, 2016 – Arguments in writing for “Japanese Sign Language Act” adopted by 100% of local municipal councils throughout the country

“Flash report”, March 3rd, 2016

Congratulations!

Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) would like to announce with great pleasure that the local council of Haga-machi in Tochigi prefecture adopted the arguments in writing (as a kind of petition) requesting Government of Japan to enact “Japanese Sign Language Act” today.

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One year since Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Today marks the first year since the massive earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The entire world was shaken by the news of this devastating natural disaster.

The earthquake was so intense that we could barely stand on our feet and the enormous tsunami that followed washed away towns along the northeastern coast, destroying everything and killing thousands of people. Even worse, it triggered the world’s worst nuclear crisis in history.

At that moment, we could do nothing but just stare at televisions feeling helpless and vulnerable to the power of Mother Nature. However, we knew that immediate action was needed to help Deaf survivors and announced a meeting with ZENTSUKEN and Japanese Association of Sign Language Interpreters (JASLI) to organize Central Headquarters for Disaster Relief for Deaf People in the Great East Japan Earthquake to respond to this disaster.

Thanks to all the supporters, we were able to provide relief goods, to dispatch sign language interpreters as well as to host events to encourage survivors and to offer emotional support service in the affected area.

We raised more than 60 million yen (USD 750,000) to support Deaf survivors through the generosity of friends from all over the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your contribution and encouragement.

Over the course of the year, it seems things are gradually settling down. However, many people still are going through a hard, tough time, some lost their job, some still live in temporary homes and some suffer from trauma. The journey to recovery has just begun and we are committed to support them until they get back their normal life.

As for relief funds, the fundraising target amount has not been achieved and we do not have enough funds to distribute necessary money for all the Deaf survivors. As the deadline for accepting donations has been extended, we ask your continuous support for our relief efforts.

We cannot recover everything which was lost by this tragedy, but we will stand by the people from the disaster-stricken areas and continue to support them until they recover their physical and emotional health and get back their normal lives with a safe place to live and a decent job before the earthquake and tsunami.

Although it is expected that recovery will take many years, we will dedicate ourselves to help them as long as we are needed. Your continued support and contribution will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

March 11, 2012
Fujisaburo Ishino
Chief, Great East Japan Earthquake Central Headquarters

Sign Language Stated in Law!

Revised Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities Enacted on July 29, Promulgated on August 5

The bill of revision of the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities, which states “language (including sign language)”, was approved unanimously in the House of Councilors on July 29, 2011. It was promulgated and came into effect on August 5.

The revised Act includes a statement of “language (including sign language)” in the Article 3(iii) and became the first law in Japan that has recognized sign language as a language.

Article 3 (Cohesion in Local Communities, etc.)

(iii) Every person with disabilities, wherever possible, shall be ensured opportunities to choose his or her language (including sign language) and/or other means of communication, and the expansion of opportunities to choose his or her means of acquiring or utilizing information shall be promoted.

Donations Toward JFD’s Earthquake Disaster Relief Efforts

(post updated July 4th, 2011)

Dear all concerned,

We highly appreciate your sincere concern and condolences to the people affected by the Earthquake and Tsunami which hit the Tohoku area in Japan on March 11, 2011.

We are currently accepting donations by bank transfer and credit card. Donated funds will be used for support of the Deaf and deaf-related people, the cost for sign language interpreters, notetakers, Deaf counseling, medical professionals, volunteers and other necessary materials.

Please find information necessary for donating here. Your support is greatly appreciated.

If you have any questions, please contact us via our contact form.

About the Earthquake

Dear All,

First of all, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for showing your heartfelt concerns and condolences in the extremely difficult time.

We, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, have already launched the “Headquarters for Disaster Relief for deaf people in the Great East Japan Earthquake”. We are doing our utmost to gather information about deaf victims and support of them, and providing it on our main website.

We have created an English page with information on the earthquake, including details on where to send donations:

Earthquake Information in English: http://www.jfd.or.jp/en/quake2011

We cordially ask you to refrain from directly contacting the disaster-stricken area about donations and volunteering.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,
Japanese Federation of the Deaf

WFD President acknowledges support towards JFD’s activities for developing laws

On behalf of Japanese Federation of the Deaf, we would like to announce that we received the following statement by Mr. Markku Jokinen, the President of the World Federation of the Deaf, which acknowledges support to our activities to develop two following laws: Access to Information & Communication Act (Tentative) and Sign Language Act (Tentative).

Along with the President’s statement, we would like to go forward with strong will and positive intent to work on development of the two laws to promote human rights of deaf persons.

Statement by President Jokinen
translated into Japanese

(PFD file)
Statement by President Jokinen
in English

(PFD file)

Enjoying Deaflympic Sports with the Medalists: Deaflympic Mini Festival

from 1 February 2010 Issue of Japanese Deaf News, JFD’s monthly newspaper:

For further awareness of the Deaflympic Games to the deaf children, Japanese Federation of the Deaf- Sports Committee (JFD-SC) organized their first Deaflympic Mini Festival at the Toyama Sunrise gymnasium, Shinjuku, Tokyo, on December 27, 2009. 70 people participated to the event, including 30 deaf junior and senior high school students, medalists and athletes performed at the Summer Deaflympic Games in Taipei, managing staff members of the deaf sports organizations, and students and faculty from Tsukuba University of Technology.

The program started with a lecture, “What is Deaflympic Games?” by Yutaka Osugi, JFD-SC Education and Development Division, and screening of the promotion DVD of the Deaflympic Games, and went on to the trial session of the Deaflympic sports. In table tennis, volleyball, and 20 meter shuttle run, the medalists had guidance and coaching to the individual children, which made the Deaflympic Games familiar to the participants.

The children enjoyed trying the shuttle run, using the equipment to convert the perceived sound into light and images for the cooperation of the Tsukuba University of Technology. They also had a stamp collection at the trial areas and quiz, and the winners received the Taipei Deaflympic goods.

Shoji Yamane, President of the JFD-SC, commented “We will make more effort to raise public awareness of the deaf sports for further development of the Deaf sports”.

Deaf Badge for Relief: disaster preparedness by a local sign language club

from 1 December 2009 Issue of Japanese Deaf News, JFD’s monthly newspaper:

The members of a sign language club of Tsuru, Yamanashi, produced an emergency badge for deaf people.

The deaf badge, with a green, cut-out felt cloth butterfly placed on a yellow circle, is designed to be worn like an athlete number singlet, so that the surrounding people can identify the deaf person on the spot. The butterfly ID is taken from “Hearing Disability Badge,” designated to the wide mirror using drivers with hearing impairment. This handmade badge by Ms. Junko Kato, president of Senbakai, Tsuru sign language club, was utilized in the Tsuru Citywide Emergency Drill held on September 27, 2009.

The second training session of the annual drill since last year was conducted on the communication with people with hearing impairments, including writing text on the ground and using a cell phone. Feedbacks from the participants include, “I was thinking that sign language is the only means to communicate with deaf people, but today I learned there are many other communication strategies and tips”. Prior to the training session, flyers created by Senbakai were distributed, covering the information on the communication tips with deaf people and sign language grocery in case of emergency.

The city of Tsuru does not have a deaf association, and some deaf residents of this area are registered members of the provincial subdivision of the Yamanashi-ken (prefecture/state) deaf association. In the emergency drill, seven from the deaf association and three from Senbakai participated.