The sign language circle, called "Suruganokai", based in Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture, won the volunteer merit commendation by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare.
The ceremony was held in the city office on October 21. Vice president Michiyo Takahashi attended representing her circle and received the award from the mayor. She said, "We indeed feel honored, and encouraged for our future work. We will work to promote the local citizens to understand Deaf people more".
Formed in in April, 1970, "Suruganokai" with about 100 members has been active to spread sign language and exchange with the local Deaf community. Also it has involved in such activities as teaching the city's sign language classes, joining a various kind of events in the city, etc.