A central center that provides deaf persons with counseling service through sign language or note taking, called the "Prefectural Information Support Center for the Deaf," opened in the Prefecture Branch Shirakawa public office, Yamagata City, October 1, 2008.
It is the first facility in the Yamagata Prefecture which offers various services to the deaf persons. According to parties concerned, the center is expected to function as a place for persons with disabilities to meet one other and exchange information.
About 5000 deaf persons reside in the prefecture (as of the end of March in 2008) according to the Prefecture Social Welfare Services Devision. The Devision has dispatched interpreters and lent caption/sign language videos and DVD. Only seven cities and towns including Yamagata City were able to offer interpreting services. Thus a formation of a base center was necessary.
In the new center, the interpreters work full time, does the new service such as lending the information device to workshops and meetings which deaf persons attend. Lending the captioned videos (about 5300), etc. continues. Counseling by not only those who visit but also the video telephone and e-mail is accepted.
In the opening ceremony, the chairman of the prefecture deaf society that entrusts the center management says "Among deaf persons, there are various needs; some need hearing aids for communication, some need the interpreters, some need note taking. The new center is expected that the problem in life can be solved even a little."
The center is open 8:30-17:00. Holidays year-end and new year days, and the weekend are closed.
Source: The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 06, 2008