Deaf group puts online relay service into effect for the first time

August 19, 2016

Gunma Prefecture Federation of the Deaf in Maebashi-shi near Tokyo has begun the relay service business with the use of the Internet for the first time as a prefecture-level group since April. (photo)

A Deaf person communicate in sign language with an interpreter staffed in the Federation office using the video function of the internet. The prefecture office is helping this business based on the Prefecture Sign Language regulation which became effective last year.

Federation officials say, "this new service is quick and efficient compared with a fax and an e-mail." They appeal Deaf persons to use the new service.

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Videophone interpretation system introduced through tablet terminal on highway bus
August 15, 2016

Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd. has introduced the videophone interpretation system called "FACE touch me!" which utilizes a tablet terminal for a highway bus which runs between Ikebukuro station (Tokyo) and Gotemba (Shizuoka Prefecture) since August 1. (photo)

The system is available for English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese sign language. Loading an interpretation terminal to a running vehicle is first in the industry according to Kokusai Kogyo.

Japanese source:

National high school summer baseball tournament: former Deaf player deeply impressed

August 12, 2016

At Koshien in Hyogo Prefecture, the National High School Summer Baseball Tournament was held. On August 12, the 6th day of the tournament, Jinseigakuen from Kagawa Prefecture was defeated by Sakushigakuin from Tochigi Prefecture by 0−3.

Nagao Takashi, 54, a former baseball team member of Jinseigakuen, watched a majestic figure of the team from the stands of Koshen. The team played for the first time after nine years.

Nagao, born deaf, was the young baseball player who played actively as a left fielder for this strong contestant school and dreamed of playing at Koshien.

After attending a school for the deaf for one year, he transferred to a local elementary school. He became interested in baseball since a junior high school, and entered Jinseigakuen which accepted a student with hearing impairment. 

Baseball team members in those days were about 100 and it was hard to get the regular position in the team. "Anyway I looked around, and decided to follow a ball faster than everyone." Nagao continued practice and won the position ranked the number two and the left fielder.

His team participated in the Kagawa Prefecture tournament and was ranked in the eight place, so Nagao was unable to realize his dream to play at Koshien. 

After graduating, Nagao continued playing baseball. He was the coach of the Japanese team for the Second International Deaf Baseball Championship which was held in Cuba in 2003. 

Japanese source:

First Deaf certified interpreter in Japan

August 11, 2016

Kawakami Kei, 40, who works for Okinawa Information Center located in southern Japan, is playing an active part as the "Deaf certified interpreter" (CDI) who underwent professional discipline. 

In 2014, she acquired qualification from the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf (RID) located in the U.S.A. as the first Japanese DCI. She is the only DCI in Japan, too.

Kawakami experienced interpreting in the USA, and also stood on the platform as an interpreter at the World Sign Language Interpreting Congress held in Turkey in July, 2015.

Kawakami, who from a Deaf family, uses sign language as her first language. She attended a hearing school from elementary through high school. She majored in English at a university and after graduating, worked for a bank for eight years. Later she with a scholarship entered Gallaudet University, majoring in Deaf Studies and interpreting and obtaining a B.A. 

She experienced as a Deaf interpreter in academic meetings at  many sites in USA for about one year after getting an M.A., which leading to get qualified as a DCI.

Kawakami believes both of the hearing interpreter and the Deaf interpreter trained are needed to protect human rights of the Deaf person.

Japanese source:

Deaf Education Forum discusses education environment after sign language regulation establishment
August 8, 2016

"The 28th National Forum on Deaf Education" was held on August 6-7 at Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture in western Japan,  sponsored by the National Council on Education for the Deaf, 

The meeting was participated by 284 people rom across Japan, including Deaf/deaf persons, teachers, researchers, parents, and others. They discussed substantiality of the educational environment after Sign Language regulation establishment based on the plenary lecture and subcommittee meetings. (photo)

The Forum has been carried out every year, and the meeting place this year was Tottori Prefecture which established the sign language regulation for the first time nationwide. The  subcommittee meetings focused on the field of education in the prefecture, early education, parents support, and sign language and Japanese, etc. as a theme.

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