Barrier-free polling places not progress in Okinawa Prefecture

November 1, 2014

The election of the Governor and Naha-shi Mayor, respectively, will take place on November 16 in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

Disability organizations sent the questionnaire to the Election Administration Commission in 41 cities, towns and villages in order to  investigate on a barrier-free environment of the polling place (339 places)  in the prefecture on September 2 and October 20.

In spite of having made the barrier-free polling place compulsory by Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law revised in July, 2011, it turned out that 253 polling places did not provide a ramp for the wheelers, 74.6% at a total of 339 polling places (as of September 2).

It was learned that no interpreter was ever stationed at the polling place for election of mayors and  lawmakers.

After the barrier-free mandating back, 40 cities, towns and villages except Naha-shi answered they have not taken any measure at the time of revised Disabled Persons' Fundamental Law. Almost all the Election Administration Commission gave a reason, saying that they just have kept the old way even though after the legal revision.

The persons concerned pointed out that results of the investigation indicated the negligence of administration and the emasculation of the idea of the revised law.

Japanese Source:

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