IT apparatus: a weapon for the Deaf to online election campaigning

Higuchi* Ikuo* uses an electronic memo pad for written communication. 

June 29, 2013

Higuchi* Ikuo* (樋口育生), 28, a Deaf resident in Hokuto-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture, aspires to become a candidate for a national election in the future.

He makes full use of IT apparatus in everyday life, such as a tablet computer into which the electronic pad for written communication and voice conversion software were put.

He expects "even if a speech is impossible, an opinion can be spread by sign language and caption on videos" by the removal of the ban of an election campaign which utilized the Internet.

After graduating from Yamanashi Prefecture School for the Deaf, Higuchi found a job at the automaker. However, he returned to hometown in 2010 and worked at the Prefecture Association of the Deaf in Kofu-shi.

At that time, he felt actually that the  government refused to move quickly. He participated in one of the political party political cram schools last year, saying "I would like to advance a disabled person's political participation and to do my best for socially vulnerable groups' support."

He welcomes an election campaign on the Web, saying "It becomes a weapon for a Deaf person as a person who carries out political activity as well as a voter."

In the prefecture, young local  representatives began to upload since June the captioned video for the expected candidate of the Yamanashi constituency to appeal his policy.

Conventionally, there is at least broadcast of political views with sign language, and Higuchi says, "it becomes easy to access information. If it is on the Internet, the Deaf can also see a video with sign language easily, which will give them a better opportunity to judge."

There is no Deaf member elected to the Diet until now. Higuchi said, "the day will come when a Deaf member gives a speech in sign language as the first language and discusses through sign language interpreting." He wishes this online election campaigning becomes the first step of a change.

Japanese source:

*Note: The Japanese name is usually in order: one's last name comes first, and then the first name comes next. 

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