Sign-language ordinance: Nagano Prefecture vows to follow Tottori Prefecture

October 05, 2013

The "sign language ordinance proposal" is expected to be passed in the Tottori prefectural assembly. If enforced, it will become the first ordinance in the whole country.

About 300,000 Deaf persons with a card of disability are all over the country. Even there are many more people who are hard of hearing and don't own a disability card.

On the other hand, the number of sign language interpreters certified through the examination by the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare remains as 3,000, and most of them are in urban areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka.

It is insufficient in rural areas even if we add the sign language interpreters who finished the interpreting training course run by a prefecture or city.

Nagano Prefecture with a large scale area in central Japan has only 39 certified interpreters and 137 prefecture-level interpreters.

There is a problem in their treatment. The hourly pay in the Prefecture for sign-language interpreting is 1,530 yen. If interpreters work for a long hours, they will be attacked by the spasm of the pain of the shoulder or the back, an arm, or a hand.

Movement towards Deaf right promotion occurred even in Nagano Prefecture for about ten years ago.

There is "summary captioning" beside sign language interpreting: a skilled staff writes a speaker's words in shorthand, which projects on a screen, etc.

When this was performed in the election campaign, it turned out that it was against the Public Offices Election Law. Twenty assemblies in the prefecture sent the petition for legal revision to the minister in charge.

It did not come out successfully as a result. The interpreting services for sign language and summary captioning, which were seen briskly at the assembly hall in every place have recently decreased.

The "National Convention of the Deaf" will be held in Nagano Prefecture next year. Concerned people would like to dig up an awareness of the issues of those days, and to follow the example of Tottori Prefecture once again.

If movement which aims at the society in which everyone lives easily spreads in rural areas, it may also move to change the legal system of the country.

Japanese source:

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