The International Day of Sign Languages 2021 Celebration Event will be held in Asia and Oceania.

The International Day of Sign Languages 2021 celebration event will be streamed online due to Covid-19. We are looking forward to seeing many people.

International Day of Sign Languages 2021
Celebration Event: Outline

Objectives Address the establishment of sign language acts in Asia Pacific region, by sharing ideas and opinions about sign languages and accessibility in Asia Pacific region, and by informing wide range of audiences of the principle of “sign language as language” and good practices of information.
Organizers World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat of Asia (WFDRSA), World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Oceania (WFDRSO), Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD)
Cooperation United Nations, United Nations Information Center
Date Thursday, September 23, 2021 (autumnal equinox day/ national holiday of Japan), 13:00-14:30
Place Broadcasted by YouTube (pre-recorded)
* Videos will be viewable from 13:00 September 23.

Viewer limit None (anyone can access)
Participation fee Free
Communication International sign, subtitles in English

Opening remark

  • Ms. U Ka WENG, Clarissa, Director, WFDRSA
  • Mr. Krishneer SEN, Chairperson, WFDRSO
  • Mr. Fujisaburo ISHINO, President, JFD

Introduction of daily themes of International Week of Deaf People

  • Management Committee of WFDRSA

Congratulatory video message

  • Dr. Srinivas Tata Director of Social Development Division
    United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP)

Panel discussion: Sign languages around the world and accessibility

  • Coordinator:
    • Mr. Yasunori SHIMAMOTO, Deputy Director, WFDRSA
  • Panelists:
    • Mr. Oliver FURGUSON, former President, Deaf Aotearoa, New Zealand
    • Mr. Kang CHEN, former President, International Committee of the Sports for the Deaf (ICSD)

JFD and JDSF hold International Workshop of Deaf Sports

to original Japanese version

On February 23, Tuesday, and a national holiday, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) and the Japanese Deaf Sports Federation(JDSF) conducted the International Workshop of Deaf Sports. 17 national deaf sports associations and 3 international guests attended the meeting online. To secure the online information-communication guarantee, materials, subtitles, International Sign, and Japanese Sign language were displayed on the same screen, respectively at the left top, the bottom left, the right top, and the bottom right.

Mr. Martin Bogard, Chair of Technical Commission of the International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD), and Ms. Cathy Schelvis, Technical Director (TD) of the ICSD, reported the current situation of the ICSD and explained the roles and required services of the TDs. Then Yuji Okawa, the head of the Japan Deaf Volleyball Association (JDVA), presented their bidding plan for the World Deaf Volleyball Championships, and Mr. Mitsuji Hisamatsu, General Manager of the Deaflympics 2025 Bid Preparation Division, outlined their campaign to have the Deaflympic Games hosted by Japan.

In the last half of the meeting, a panel discussion was held coordinated by Mr. Yutaka Osugi, Chairperson of ICSD Reform Commission, with Mr. Mohammad Pargar, President of the Asia Pacific Deaf Sports Confederation (APDSC), from Iran, and Mr. Koji Takahashi, Chairperson of the Japan Deaf Football Association (JDFA) and a former TD of football at the APDSC.

During the Q & A Session, there were many questions on various topics, such as methods for selecting TDs at the ICSD, the standards for information-communication guarantee using flashing lights, or the future directions of the APDSC. The 3 guest speakers from overseas praised the elaborate preparation of the Workshop and the information-communication guarantee system, and the domestic deaf sports associations’ enthusiasm. Many participating associations stated that they would engage more in international activities, including serving TDs, to promote their sports area.

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JFD and JDSF hold 1st Meeting of Deaflympics 2025 Bid Preparation Division

to original Japanese version

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) and the Japanese Deaf Sports Federation(JDSF) held the first meeting of the Deaflympics 2025 Bid Preparation Division on Monday, January 18, 2021. All the Advisors and Members of Division met in person or online in the middle of a state of emergency due to COVID-19.

At the meeting, the progression status of the campaign activities to have the Deaflympic Games hosted by Japan was shared with the participants and the determination to work closely together with each other for the successful bid was confirmed.

The meeting was significant in that it showed a proactive attitude of Japanese sporting community, which attempts to establish an inclusive society through sports, in supporting for successful bid of the Deaflympic Games that aims to create societies where everyone can access information, with collaborative efforts of both disabled and able-bodied people.

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Message Video from the directors of the JFD about “2020 International Day of Sign Languages.”


On December 19, 2017, the 72nd UN General Assembly proclaimed September 23rd as the “International Day of Sign Languages.” September 23rd is also the day of establishment of the World Federation of the Deaf in 1951. Let’s encourage UN member states to raise awareness of sign language throughout the society so that sign language is regarded equal to spoken language and guarantee the human rights of Deaf people! “Sign language is life.” Congratulations on the 3rd International Day of Sign Languages!

UN Website – International Day of Sign Languages

Situation of COVID-19 in Japan in International Sign

Situation of COVID-19 in Japan

While COVID-19 is spreading throughout the world, I, Ota, chair of the International Committee, will like to report on behalf of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf to our Deaf friends around the world about the current situation of Japanese Deaf.

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Views on Sign Language Interpreters in Medical Settings for Infectious Diseases


Translated from Japanese to English by
The National Research Association for Sign Lanugage Interpretation.

Views on Sign Language Interpreters in Medical Settings
for Infectious Diseases

With the worldwide spread of the new Coronavirus, COVID-19, concern about infection of sign language interpreters in medical settings has been increasing.

There is a fear of infections to registered sign language interpreters who receive no health care coverage or paid sick leave in the current system “providing interpretation by mainly dispatching registered sign language interpreters”. In addition, possible infection of staff members at Information Centers for the Deaf, mostly running under the designated manager system, would have a great impact on these facilities’ operations.

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Our Movement for Promoting the Establishment of a Sign Language Law in Japan

Our Movement for Promoting the Establishment
of a Sign Language Law in Japan

The Circumstances Around Deaf People in Japan

For over 70 years, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf has, has fought to realize an environment where sign language communication and information access are guaranteed. After the establishment of the country’s first school for the deaf in Kyoto in 1878 (Meiji 11), the number of schools increased to over a hundred across the course of the Taisho (1912 – 1926) and Showa periods (1926 – 1989). The alumni associations of these schools became the foundation for the establishment of groups and national organizations for the deaf, which would become the driving force for bringing the issue of social recognition of sign language to the government.

However, that’s not to say it’s been a smooth road from the time when deaf persons would be scorned with derogatory terms like oshi and tsumbo to now, when the establishment of a law surrounding sign language is now being considered. To begin with, after 1920 (Taisho 9), it became a common misunderstanding in deaf schools that sign language would impede Japanese language acquisition, so many of these schools purposely eradicated sign language from practice. Even so, the children, students, and graduates and deaf schools continued to use sign language for communication. The fact that sign language continued to be used and develop even throughout a period of intense suppression shows the innate human need for language acquisition. In spite of this, over a long period of time, sign language acquisition continued to be put off by deaf education, and deaf people felt a sense of inferiority for using it.

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The Five Sign Language Rights

The Five Sign Language Rights

The 5 Rights Created through a Domestic Research Survey by the Project to Push the Creation of a Sign Language Law

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) received assistance from the Nippon Foundation in 2010 and started the project to push to creation of a sign language law, where they ran domestic and international surveys. In the international survey, they looked at countries and regions which had established sign language laws, and the results are summarized in “The Status of Legal Recognition of Sign Language in Countries Around the World”. In contrast, the domestic survey, which formed the foundation of the “five sign language rights” covered in this section, was run with the intention to make clear what deaf people’s experiences have been when it comes to discrimination against sign language.

Extracting data from surveys conducted in the past, individual hearings of deaf persons, back catalogues and related materials from the JFD’s newspaper bulletin Japanese News for the Deaf, and other documents and material related to deaf and hearing impaired persons, we counted 1,214 cases of discrimination against sign language, and separated them into the following five different categories as a result of our analysis.

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President and the Secretariat of ICSD visit Japan (January 20th through January 23rd, 2020)

to original Japanese version

International Committee of the Sports for the Deaf (ICSD, the governing body of international deaf sports and organizer of the Deaflympic Games, had its 47th congress in Italy, from December 9th through 11th, 2019. The Congress elected Mr. Kang Chen(陳康)from Taiwan for the new president of ICSD. Mr. Chen is the first ICSD president from Asia.

The 47th ICSD Congress was held (Italy, December 9th and 11th, 2019) (Japanese)

With an aim to discuss ICSD reform as well as to strengthen the relationship between the Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) and ICSD, JFD invited Mr. Chen and the CEO, Mr. Dmitry Rebrov to Japan from January 20 through January 23, 2020. Mr. Chen has successfully led 2009 Summer Deaflympic Games in Asia, held in Taipei, Taiwan, while the deaf sports has been historically initiated by European countries. JFD is determined to be committed to the further development of deaf sport, by working with the ICSD and the chairperson of the ICSD Reform Committee.

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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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