Hagi-shi, Yamaguchi Prefecture:
The Hagi-shi city office in western Japan announced on November 26 that it will propose an establishment plan of "Sign Language Regulation" to an assembly in December, which would be the first time in the prefecture.
The city places sign language as a language, and aims at realization of the coexistence society in which the Deaf persons live at ease in a hearing world. The policy will be carried out on December 20 when the proposed establishment plan is approved.
The city which has developed a draft of the ordinance put a preface in it about the spread of sign language: "It is obligation of the city which is the place related to Yamao Yozo who built a foundation of Deaf education in our country".
Yamao was one of the "Choushuu Five" Men, including Itoh Hirofumi, the first Japanese Prime Minister, who went to the United Kingdom from Choshu-han (currently Yamaguchi Prefecture) in late the 1860's before the shogunate system ended. Yamao was surprised to see the Deaf engineers communicating in sign language at a Scottish shipyard in Glasgow, and after returning home, he established an educational institution for the Deaf in Tokyo.
To expand an opportunity for the Deaf persons to get socially involved, a city health welfare department senior spoke that they would arrange a policy in detail while asking an opinion of disability groups and the parties concerned regarding dispatch of more interpreters.