Category Archives: legislation

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:

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.

Inputs on Sign Language Interpreting for the New Lay Judge System – Discussion with the Supreme Court –

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

From the Editorial Column of The Japan Times Online, Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007:

By May 2009, Japan will introduce a lay judge system in which ordinary citizens will take part in criminal proceedings as judges to help decide the outcomes of trials. …The use of lay judges is a big change in the nation’s legal system. The Supreme Court, the Justice Ministry, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, lawyers, law professors and others need to make concerted efforts to enlighten the public about the lay judge system, to facilitate their participation in it and to eliminate potential problems with it.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) and Japanese Association of Sign Language Interpreters (JASLI) had a meeting with the Supreme Court regarding the new Lay Judge System on March 6th. From JFD, General Secretary Eiichi Konaka, and Norihiko Nishitaki (Board Member and Head of the Sign Language Interpretation Section) participated.

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20th Anniversary of the National Certification of Sign Language Interpreters

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

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of the National Sign Language Interpreter Certification System. In that regard, the system has become a 20-year-old “full grown-up”. In May 1989, the Ministry of Health and Welfare (current Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare) made an announcement regarding the “Project on the examination and certification of sign language interpreting knowledge and skills”, which was the first official regulation on sign language interpreting in our country. In June of the same year, the government designated the examination conducted by the Information and Culture Center for the Deaf (ICCD) to be the official testing system of the nation, and announced that those who passed the examination would be officially certified by the Minister of Health and Welfare to be a “National Certified Sign Language Interpreter (Shuwa Tsuyakushi)”. As of January 15th 2009, 2015 sign language interpreters throughout Japan have been accredited by this national certification system. Following are comments on this 20-year history of the certification system from the representatives of the related organizations.

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And Now… 4 Years From the Elimination of Disqualification Clauses…

from May 2005 Issue of Japanese Deaf News, JFD’s monthly newspaper:

Disbandment of the Headquarters for Revision of Laws Discriminating Persons with Hearing Disabilities

Representatives from 9 organizations attending the disbandment
ceremony of the Headquarters on March 25, 2005 (above), Report of the
activities of the Headquarters (left), Mimi Quarterly Vol.106 features on
Deaf people who are active in medical and other fields (right)

Disqualification clauses are articles of laws which stipulate that deaf people are not qualified to obtain licenses for certain occupations, etc. Some even prohibit the Deaf from taking the qualifying examinations. In June 2001, most of those disqualification clauses were eliminated as a result of a nationwide movement led by the “Headquarters for Revision of Laws Discriminating Persons with Hearing Disabilities”, established in partnership with different organizations related to persons with hearing disabilities in 1998.

On March 25th 2005, the disbandment ceremony of the Headquarters was held near Tokyo Station. However, questions remain as to whether all discrimination against persons with hearing disabilities have really been abolished. We take this opportunity to reflect back on the progress of this movement.

Standing Up for the Realization of “Full Participation and Equality”

From 1996 to 1997, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD), the promoter of the above Headquarters, celebrated its 50th anniversary and initiated the “National Caravan of the Deaf for Discussion with Governors”. JFD made an appeal to the Japanese public and administrators for early realization of “Full participation and equality” of the Deaf in society, in partnership with other organizations related to the Deaf. They also requested the revision of discriminatory laws which stipulate that “Deaf People cannot obtain qualification”. These laws include the Road Traffic Law Article 88 and other laws prohibiting Deaf people from obtaining licenses in the medical and other specialized fields.

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