Tottori Governor Hirai reports on the prefecture sign language ordinance.(photo: http://www.nnn.co.jp/)
November 25, 2013
The Japanese Federation of the Deaf which aims at establishment of "a sign language law (tentative name)" sponsored the event. About 330 deaf persons and persons concerned all over the country gathered in the hall.
Mayor Taoka Katsusuke (田岡克介) of Ishikari-shi, Hokkaido in Japan's northern island reported the progress of an ordinance on sign language as a language. Its enforcement first in Hokkaido will be scheduled for April, next year.
He looked back upon the process that establishment of an ordinance when discussed, and mentioned, "There was also an argument whether to distinguish rather only a Deaf person from a person with physical disability."
The mayor indicated, "The ordinance is not concerned with whether you are disabled or not, but it is for all the citizens."
"If an ordinance or a law can be done and there will be a society with a new sense of values, persons other than a Deaf person will also come to use a language called sign language. We rather hopefully will not need this ordinance as soon as possible."
Then, Tottori Governor Hirai Shinji (平井伸治) explained in sign language the circumstances until the Tottori Prefecture sign language ordinance was enacted. "Although Tottori Prefecture is a very small prefecture, by stepping forward together. we can change this country. Your cooperation is requested."
After the reports, panel discussion was held also. Edano Yukio (枝野幸男), a Democratic Party member of the House of Representatives, and others participated.
Edano revealed having come to get interested in sign language when he was told that his new-born son might have a hearing problem.
He introduced sign-language interpreting at the press conference of the prime minister and the Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, while acting as the Chief Cabinet Secretary by the Democratic Party Administration.
Also when Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law was revised, Section 1 with "language (sign language is included)" was incorporated in the article.
Edano said, "It is good that planted seeds are shooting out the bud in various places, but last must make a flower bloom in the form of law."