Some questions to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf

June 12, 2012

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf (JFD) held its 60th national conference of the Deaf in Kyoto on June 6 - 10, attracting over 5,000 participants from across Japan.

A vlog was posted by a Deaf participants, Ezoe Satoshi-san, questioning about one of the sessions he attended.

1. What does it mean by the "only one sign language" in Japan as JFD has proposed the sign language bill? Which sign language does JFD intend as the "only one sign language": Japanese Sign Language (JSL), Signed Japanese, or Japanese Dialect Signs?

2. At the session on sign language which Ezoe-san attended, few discussions were possible. Instead there was a quiz on sign language with some prizes. What was the purpose of the session?

3. Takada Eiichi-san, former JFD President, has mentioned at the session that a Deaf person good at written Japanese would be fluent in sign language, and that a Deaf person poor at written Japanese would be poor at sign language, too. On what evidence could he make such a remark?

JSL/English caption

Center for the Deaf to be established in Fukui Prefecture next year

June 25, 2012

Six organizations including the Fukui Welfare Association of the Deaf, aim at establishing the "Fukui Prefecture Center for the Deaf" in both Fukui and Tsuruga cities in Fukui Prefecture in April, next year.

The prefecture has been behind while many other prefectures have their own information dissemination facility of the same kind.

Sato Masahide-san (52), the association director, said that the establishment of such a center would unify communication services and functions which are scattered among the organizations, and hold out a hand to "the unnoticed Deaf persons."

About 3600 people have a hearing impairment card in the prefecture. However, the related organizations grasp the whereabouts of about 300 people who are mostly former students of the prefecture school for the Deaf. 

Since the list of persons owning the disability card is issued by the city/town office, to get the list is impossible from a viewpoint of personal information protection.

The Deaf person who has registered with the city/town office will be able to receive e-mail from the office on the disaster alarm. This system is not well known to the Deaf community. 

Organization officials said, "A center for the Deaf were established, the emergency drill for the Deaf community can be regularly arranged as business.
In addition to the sign language lecture, etc. which has been organized, we will develop a project to train human resources such as interpreters for the DeafBlind, etc.

Japanese original article:

Note taking service less known to Deaf community in Fukui Prefecture

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:

Deaf and hearing children to make decoration strips of paper for "The Sendai Festival"

June 23, 2012

The children of the Kagawa Prefecture School for the Deaf and Kitahokubu Elementary School, both located in Otakamimachi, Takamatsu City, are making the strips of paper for Tanabata* decoration, etc. again for the "Sendai Tanabata Festival" scheduled for August 6-8 in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture.

Their works will make the shopping mall colorful in the city in order to encourage people in one of the earthquake-tsunami stricken areas.

*the Star Festival celebrated on July 7/August 7

Japanese original article:

Information booklet produced on medical accessibility

The booklet in which the measures for clients with disabilities taken by the hospitals were summarized.

June 21, 2012

The Igasa District Conference on support independence of persons with disabilities, consisted of five locally governing bodies and welfare organizations, etc. in Okayama Prefecture, made 3000 copies of booklet titled "The Hospital Information for Persons with Disabilities" (40 pages and A4 size).

The booklet summarized the measures taken for the clients with disabilities by the 143 hospitals and medical institutions in the district.

Basic information, such as an address, a telephone number, consultation hours of each hospital and medical institution, is included in the booklet.

Also information is added about 11 items, such as the parking lot and a toilet for patients with disabilities, a slope, a medical examination for a person with wheelchair, consultation by sign language or writing.

According to the Conference, the person with disability and the guardian are not sure if they can get a medical examination without any problem, etc. There is a case that even illness isn't serious, they tend to go to the hospital in the long distance where they have gotten used. 

Japanese original article:

Fire Control Administration overlooks faxed emergency message from Deaf man for 15 hours

June 21, 2012

It was found out that the Hiroshima City Fire Prevention and Control Administration overlooked the emergency message delivered by fax from the Deaf male resident who wrote "feeling bad (hard to breathe)," for about 15 hours. The fax message arrived at 5:53 p.m. on May 5.

When the rescue crew noticed the emergency message and moved immediately, the Deaf man fortunately had already recovered.

According to the Fire Prevention and Control Administration, the communication room has a fax machine that receives from those who cannot use a telephone because of a disability.

Nine male staff worked on the day. Three were resting, and the rest were busy with emergency correspondences or emergency mobilization, and did not notice the fax arrival.

The other staff who took the place of duty and went into service discovered the fax neglected, at 8:45 a.m. on the next day, May 6.

Administration officials apologized to the man, and gave the nine men severe cautions.

The Administration has installed a blue revolving light and a buzzer beside the fax machine as recurrence preventive measures. When one does not notice the emergency fax, the alarm will continue sounding.

Japanese original article:

Funding purchase of a hearing-aid for children with moderate hearing loss

June 14, 2012

More prefectures and ordinance-designated cities in the Chugoku region in western Japan assist the buying expenses of the hearing-aid for a child with hearing difficulties.

It is because that the Government restricts in funding only for a child with profound hearing loss.

Three prefectures, Okayama, Shimane, and Tottori, and both Hiroshima and Okayama Cities have introduced the purchase system for children with moderate hearing loss. When a parent buys a hearing-aid, the system covers 2/3 of the cost.

The price of a hearing-aid varies between 50,000 yen to 400,000 yen. There are also many children who need two sets of the hearing aid for both ears, which puts a heavy burden on guardians.

Deaf organizations and all the prefectures have asked the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to fund purchase of a hearing-aid for children with mild-moderate hearing loss.

Ministry officials has said. "We have opted for support based on the medical and special standard. There is no plan to extend a target."

In the whole country, 11 prefectures and 10 government-ordinance cities are providing their own support. The Yamaguchi prefecture has determined to introduce the funding plan in this fiscal year.

On the other hand, Hiroshima Prefecture officials see how the government reacts, saying that it should apply the national funding system for all.

Japanese original article:

Training staff to support university students with disabilities

June 18, 2012

Since this spring, Kansai University located in Osaka Prefecture has launched the team to support the students with disabilities in their academic activities by training the student support staff.

While other universities in the Kinki region, such as Kwansei Gakuin University, Ritsumeikan University, Doshisha University, have offered students support services, Kansai University used only the system by the student assistant as a volunteer.

Kansai University tied up also with the teachers and staff of each faculty since this year, and also opened a training course for the student support staff, who not only studies the technique of note taking and  translation into braille, but develops disability awareness.

About 60 persons have registered with the student support staff now, out of whom about 30 persons are students. Application for the student support staff is again planned in autumn.

Japanese original article:

Elementary school students present "fireflies" to Deaf students

The elementary school student (left) hands the case containing fireflies. 

June 16, 2012

A group of 26 sixth graders of the Taketa Elementary School located in Taketa-shi, Oita Prefecture visited a residential facility for Deaf children and children with visual impairment respectively located in Higashi-Omichi, Oita-shi, and presented about 600 "fireflies" caught on June 16.

At the 60th traditional event, the children from the Taketa Elementary School handed the case containing the fireflies. A leader of the group said with sign language, "Have been looking forward to getting you to be glad, we all caught the fireflies."

Inokuchi Shuhei (18) , a senior high school student of the Prefecture School for the Deaf, promised that the Deaf students will breed fireflies carefully. "We would like to continue the firefly exchange program from now on."

The presented fireflies are bred inside the garden at the facility. The larvae hatched out of the eggs will be given to the Taketa Elementary School in return.

Japanese original article:

Donation to hearing dog association through vending machine

June 16, 2012

The vending machine for fund-raising was placed in front of the Japanese Hearing Dog Association office in Miyata-mura, Nagano Prefecture. When a drink is sold on the machine, a part of commission is donated to the association. It is the second set following Japan GE head office. (photo:

One of the major beverage manufacturers, Japan Pepsi-Cola Sale Co. located in Tokyo has began since June, 2012 as a part of philanthropy activities.

In the vending machine in front of the association, except the 500-ml soft drinks, a drink is sold for 100 yen, and if you buy one, 5 yen will go to the association.

The role of the hearing dog that tells household noises by touching a Deaf person is also introduced on the side of the vending machine in yellow polka dots, the image color of the association.

Japanese original article:

Medical interpreting spread to support Deaf persons

June 15, 2012

Shimada Jiro (68), a Deaf resident of Hirakata-shi, Osaka Prefecture, has appealed the necessity for the medical sign-language interpreting.

It was a cause that he lost the one-year-old eldest daughter 40 years ago, which he has repented, saying, "It was too late to notice her pain."

Shimada-san received the vaccination of typhoid at the elementary school at the age of eight. He felt painful in both his ears and lost hearing suddenly. The doctor explained only that the vaccine did not suit. Ever since Shimada-san was unable to follow a lesson and play, only he felt alienated strongly.

Shimada-san went on to the Prefecture Ikuno School junior high school department in Ikuno-ku, Osaka City. "I knew then that I was not only one person who was Deaf. I felt saved a bit."

He acquired the dental technician's qualification and married the Deaf wife when he was 27 years old. The daughter was born after he started to live in Hirakata-shi.

Although she received the vaccination of smallpox at the 1 years-old and seven months, her arm swelled up. After only by collecting blood in the hospital which Shimada-san visited with his daughter, they were already on the way home, so he thought lightly that it was nothing to be worried about the daughter's sickness.

However, at midnight of the day the daughter got worse. When he went to another hospital confusedly, he was blamed by the doctor for not doing properly about her serious condition. She passed away soon in encephalitis.

Shimada-san regretted her sudden death; "I was unable communicate with a doctor exactly, and had not paid attention to my daughter's pain. If a full-time sign-language interpreter were available in the hospital, she would not have to die. The same misfortune should not happen again."

In order to promote an understanding to sign-language interpreting, Shimada-san became the city personnel after passing the disability employment examination at the age of 40, and worked for the Deaf person's assisted living, arrangement of the sign language course, etc.

He retired at the age of 60, and established the civic organization for medical interpreting to start providing interpreting services in the support of the foreigners as well as the Deaf in Hirakata-shi in January, 2011.

Shimada-san says, "For those who are Deaf or can't speak Japanese, I would like to make the environment where medical treatment can be provided in comfort."

Japanese original article:

Rice planting program to foster friendship

June 9, 2012

On June 8 when the rainy season began, 63 students from the junior high school and six students from the Nagasaki Prefecture School for the Deaf, both located in Omura City in the Nagasaki Prefecture, joined the rice planting program at the rice field which the junior high school uses for training.

No less than 16 persons aged from 20 to 45 whom the educational group invited from six countries, such as the Netherlands and Venezuela, participated in the program on the spur of the moment, and the area of the ravine was wrapped in the cheer.

Every year the students from both the schools experience the process from planting glutinous rice in about 700-square-meter rice field, rice reaping to pounding steamed rice.

Japanese original article:

Deaf owner opens a cafe bar in a residential area in Tokyo

Yamamoto Kensuke (left) and
Koizumi Tomomi (right)   


June 13, 2012

On June 1, a cafe bar called "Huddle" opened in Sangenjaya, Tokyo. The owner is Yamamoto Kensuke (26) from Niigata Prefecture.

He says, "I tended to change a part-time job often. I have experienced in working part-time at tens of shops in four years since I graduated from university."

The housing of the said store was introduced by his acquaintance. When Kensuke went to see it just out of curiosity at first, he came to think that he would like to do business in the store by himself.

He invited Koizumi Tomomi, his classmate from the same prefecture who lived close,  and they started the cafe bar.

Since the cafe bar is surrounded by the private houses and there is no stores nearby, Kensuke also liked the location where customers might get relaxed.

Store area is about 4 tsubos (13.2 square meters) with four counters. Stand-up drinking is also available. Curry with different kinds of spice, vegetable sticks, three sorts of cheese are served.

Kensuke says, "I want to make my store a place where the visitors who want to meet someone may come here repeatedly."

Business hours: 19:00-24:00, sometimes 12:00-19:00. Closed on Monday.

Japanese original article:

New book on the Deaf as a linguistic minority published


A new book titled "'Multicultural Coexistence' as seen from the Deaf persons: Another linguistic minority" (2,520 yen, 354 pages) was published by the Coco Publisher Company on June 10, 2012.

This book clarifies existence of the Deaf people as a linguistic/cultural minority and their issues from a point of view related to "sign language."

"The Deaf Culture Declaration" (1995) which stated aloud existence of the Deaf people as a linguistic minority shocked the majority in Japan.

However, the statement prevails still that sign language is an imperfect language and that a Deaf person is seen to be reformed or in need of medical treatment.

The evident testimonies by Deaf persons and the parties concerned, such as the family and coda, throws the clear picture of their distress with the statement.

Each article by the specialists in the field of law, language, and education, shows that Japanese Sign Language is one of the languages in Japanese society, and that the Deaf children must be provided with the bilingual education with Japanese Sign Language as the first language and written Japanese as the second language for social participation.

Rubella prevalent in the Kansai region

June 8, 2012

Rubella is prevalent in the Kinki area covering Osaka, Kyoto, Hyogo, etc.

The number of patients in the whole country this year has been the largest since 2008 when the investigation took on the patient statistics.

There are especially many more male patients between their 20's and 40's.

Rubella may cause congenital cardiopathy, hearing loss, etc. in the born child, if the woman in early pregnancy is infected.

The specialists are calling for getting a vaccination as soon as possible in order to prevent more infection in the family, the workplace, etc.

Japanese original article:

Dental health experts teach Deaf children and students toothbrushing at school for the Deaf in Kagoshima Prefecture

June 8, 2012

The dental health program was offered in the Prefecture Kagoshima School for the Deaf in Kagoshima City on June 7.

Doctors and vocational school students from the city association of dentists, the prefecture society of oral hygienists, the Kagoshima dentistry vocational school, etc. taught about 60 children and students how to brush tooth properly.

This program takes place every year as part of activities for "The  Dental Health Week," (June 4-10), which has been carried out since 1992.

Japanese original article:

English-captioned video about stricken areas starts on YouTube

June 07, 2012

The Ministry of Internal Affairs Hokuriku Communications Bureau and the East Japan Reconstruction Assistance Consortium made the video subtitled in English and started posting on YouTube in order to advertise the Minamisoma* Channel, which was posted in Japanese, to the world.

The video titled "Minamisoma Channel" was made originally for connecting disaster victims with their hometowns. It was recently subtitled in English to appeal for support and cooperation with the decision at realization of the "East Japan Reconstruction Channel." (link:

After holding the organization meeting of an East Japan Reconstruction Assistance Consortium on April 12, it is said that there are many inquiries and consultations from the self-governing bodies in disaster-stricken areas which need support, and companies concerned to offer support.

It is expected that such a movement will be developed by the publicity work through YouTube.

Japanese original article:

*Minamisoma is one of the counties located north from the Fukushima nuclear plant station in Fukushima Prefecture.

District court requested for providing sign language interpreters for trial

June 7, 2012

The Deaf office worker woman, 40, from Takamatsu city, Kagawa Prefecture has sued the decision of the city office that did not accept her dispatch application of sign language interpreter as their action was against the constitution etc., asking the city for cancellation of their decision, etc.

The defense counsel for the Deaf woman submitted the written letter requesting the Takamatsu District Court on June 6 to arrange the interpreting services for the Deaf woman, Deaf observers and persons with visual impairment during the trial.

According to the defense counsel, after enforcing revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law in August, 2011, it was first in the whole country to carry out such a request.

There was prior consultation in the district court, and on that day they answered that the request for interpreting services was "under consideration." 

Japanese original article:

Related links:
Deaf woman rejected for sign language interpreting to file a suit against city office

Deaf mother files suit for city rejecting interpreting dispatch as "illegal"

Deaf woman appeals due to application for sign language service rejected

Deaf schools support deaf/HOH children from mainstream program

June 2, 2012

The "local support center" which offers services to help the deaf/hard-of-hearing (HOH) children in the local area was established in the Prefecture School for the Deaf Fukushima Branch School in Fukushima City.

The deaf/HOH children who attend a regular school and their parents/guardians visit the support center for consultation. Also the center provides advice to teachers in the mainstream program on how to instruct the deaf/HOH students, how to meet the needs of those with cochlea implant, etc.

The Prefecture School for the Deaf located in Kooriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture has 3 branch schools, each in Fukushima, Iwaki, and Aizuwakamatsu, all of which have set up the same support center in the current fiscal year.

There are 108 students from preschool through high school at the schools for the Deaf. The prefecture has about 300 children with hearing loss in mainstream programs. It is in the tendency that more children implanted with cochlea go to a regular school in ten years due to a development of the cochlea implant.

Japanese original article:

Fashion show to promote understanding of hearing aid

June 6, 2012

The fashion show with people with hearing aids was opened in Tokyo in order to remove the resistance against a hearing-aid and enjoy it as part of a fashion. Eleven aged from the twenties to 80's appeared as a model.

Among them, the male appeared in the uniform of the rugby team to which he belongs and made a pose following narration and music. His experience was introduced that he uses a hearing-aid after practice and enjoy conversation with his teammates about the practice, etc. 

Moreover, the woman who is enjoying the hearing-aid colorfully decorated and designed showed herself on a catwalk stage.

The woman aged 27 who has used a hearing aid since two years ago said, "When I first used it I felt shameful and tried to hide it under the hair. I hope people feel free with the use of a hearing aid like glasses."

The organization which sponsored the event explained,  "Those who use a hearing-aid are twenty or less percent of those whose hearing is losing without a hearing aid. We hope the event will promote understanding to a hearing-aid."

Japanese original article:

New program for Deaf preschoolers opens in Niigata Prefecture

The Deaf young children attend the new class activity with their parents.

May 31, 2012

In the Niigata Prefecture Joetsu area which did not have the preschool program for Deaf children until now, the Takada preschool program under the Prefecture Nagaoka School for the Deaf was opened in Joetsu city.

The lesson has begun in May for five Deaf children from Joetsu city including two children who had attended the Nagaoka School in the last fiscal year.

The burden of these two children and their parents for commuting between Joetsu and Nagaoka cities decreased, and the children looked fine after coming home.

It took about one hour and a half by car from Joetsu to Nagaoka. Because of heavy snow during winter, the young children and their parents had to stay in the Nagaoka School for the Deaf dormitory to attend the preschool program.

The Takada preschool program aims at becoming an institution which supports the young children and their parents in the Joetsu regardless of a child's age or the degree of the disability in the future.

Japanese original article:

First use of iPad for extracurricular study by Deaf students

The student (center) questions the staff (right) at the Prefecture Buried Cultural Property Investigation Center using iPad.
(photo: caption

May 30, 2012

In order to advance Deaf students' study effectively, the Kagawa Prefecture School for the Deaf provided its students with the portable multifunction terminal "iPad" for their extracurricular study at the ruins near the school located in Takamatsu-shi for the first time on May 30.

The extracurricular study with the use of iPad is a part of research on the instruction method using new information devices and equipment which the school, the University of Tokyo, etc. have tackled since the 2011 fiscal year.

Six junior high students participated in the program at the Buried Cultural Property Investigation Center. At the ruins, while the staff showed them the pictures on iPad, explained the about-1400-year-old ruins, a lifestyle, etc.

The students made use of iPad, such as taking pictures of the marks of the unearthed hearth, writing a question and communicating with the staff in writing.

Some of the students commented on the program; "I was able to compare the pictures on the iPad screen and the real one, so I understood very well how the life of people of those days", "it was convenient for me to use iPad even outside the school."

Japanese original article: