June 25, 2012
There is a system of dispatching a volunteer for note taking service in each town and city in Fukui Prefecture.
Although the service is indispensable to social participation for persons who are aged or became deafened and do not understand sign language, it is seldom known to the Deaf community. It has been an issue on expansion of the support system.
According to the Fukui Prefecture Welfare Division for Persons with Disabilities, there are 3,667 persons with hearing impairment as of March, 2011.
The investigation in 2006 by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare found that about twenty percent out of the deaf use sign language as a means of communication.
Fukui Prefecture has established the system to offer one of the services for free in the prefecture: sign language interpreting, volunteering for sign language interpreting, or note taking.
However, only 146 cases, about ten percent, out of a total of 1,117 cases that the note-taking service was available in the 2010 fiscal year.
According to the prefecture, there are 73 note takers who work as a volunteer in the prefecture as of April, 2011.
About six years ago a circle for the note-takers was formed. A circle leader says, "Compared with sign language, there are still few organizations which tackle note taking. We want to raise a level so that the client feels easy more." The circle will try to arrange the environment to train note takers in cooperation with the prefecture.
Japanese original article: