More Deaf people hired in customer services such as shops

Shioda Tomohiro (24), who is on the Deaf soccer national team, works at the UNIQLO store in the building next to JR Chigasaki Station (Kanagawa Prefecture). He hard of hearing, talks and lipreads well.
At the cake shop "Laporte" in Tokyo Station, the customer orders by using the touch panel as the Deaf staff looks on.

November 29, 2011

Because it is hard for the Deaf to communicate with hearing people, service trade is thought to be unsuitable for their employment. However, more Deaf people work with some consideration in shops.

Eight item of sweets is sold in the cake shop called "Laporte" in one corner of the passage on the Japan Railway Tokyo Station first basement level. When the customer orders what he/she wants to buy by inputting on the touch panel on the front counter at the shop. The Deaf staff gets the order after looking at the touch panel.

"Laporte" opened in 2003 as the JR East Japan retail network promoted to hire more Deaf persons. There are a shop in Tokyo Station and Yurakucho Station, respectively and a total of eight Deaf women work presently.

The major garments company "UNIQLO" has promoted the employment of persons with disability as its slogan, "More persons with  disability at one store." Over 90 percent of the 850 "UNIQLO" stores across the country hired persons with disability. About 30 percent of them are Deaf. Their work doesn't differ from other hearing coworkers such as  reception besides cleaning or merchandise management.

Deaf persons work also in a coffee chain "Starbucks." Moreover, other coffee shop opened by a welfare group in a region hires Deaf staff.

However, in the whole business, it is still a small number of Deaf workers. The Law Concerning Employment Promotion for Disabled Persons requires a company with 56 or more employees to employ not less than 1.8% of disabled persons.

The actual employment rate is going up every year according to the investigation of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the average of the workers with disabilities is 1.65% as of June. Many Deaf people are employed in the field such as a production process.

MIZUNO Eiko, a senior researcher of the private research institute, explained, "although it tends to assume that communication with a customer is difficult for a Deaf worker, it is desirable not to limit an occupation to those eager Deaf persons but to improve their workplace environment. It is important for not only a company but also society and consumers as a whole to deepen an understanding of the workers with disabilities. "

Japanese source:

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