Chiba Prefecture makes mistake in disability card

May 28, 2014

Chiba Prefecture announced on May 27 that it made a mistake written in the classification of a physically handicapped persons' card.

The prefecture issued the card incorrectly indicated to be a second category to the Deaf child who has been classified as the 3rd class which should be the "first category" by which the railroad fare of the care worker of attendance, etc. are discounted.

Since the parent of the Deaf child was not able to receive an original discount, the prefecture paid her 51,590 yen of a difference.

The prefecture welfare division for persons with disabilities will investigate other about 1,000 applications, too.

Japanese sources:

Tottori Prefecture meets with four local organizations for opinions on information accessibility

 May 24, 2014

In order to grasp the issues that persons with disabilities confront in obtaining information, Tottori Prefecture exchanged opinions with four local disability organizations on May 23.

In order to reflect the opinion of the party concerned on a welfare measure, the serious improvement request has been raised with a part of a project team's measure made from the departments crossing in the prefecture office.

At the meeting, the prefecture welfare association of the visually impaired requested that "more voice guide equipments should be set up in the streets."

The prefecture association of the Deaf described his own experience: "caption did not appear with the remote control of built-in television in a hotel."

The prefecture society of the DeafBlind pointed out: "the spread of oscillating-type signals is required for the DeafBlind."

The prefecture society of the persons who underwent the extraction operation of the larynx asked saying, "We want raise more social recognition of persons with disabilities. The surrounding understanding is needed more than information access."

Matsuda Saeko (松田佐恵子), the head of Prefecture Department of Health and Social Welfare, said, "We would like to carry forward a step for a meeting little by little in piles before the enforcement of the disability discrimination law in April, 2016."

Japanese source:

Disability sports seminar held for more awareness in Ehime Prefecture

May 22, 2014

The "seminar on living" that offers the information covering social life at large for the purpose of supporting the positive social participation of the local Deaf community was held in Matsuyama-shi, Ehime Prefecture in western Japan on May 19.

At the seminar, an official from the Disability Sports Convention Division, National Athletic Meet Promotion Office gave a lecture titled "Let's learn the disability sports convention and make it successful." The official explained the purpose and a schedule of the national disability sports convention, an outline of games, a preparation situation of the prefecture, etc. The prefecture will hold the sports event in 2017.

The participants, including not only deaf persons, but also sign language interpreters and note-takers, got interested in the sports for the persons with disabilities produced out of originality and creativity while they were surprised at the pleasure and difficulty of the sports which were seldom
known commonly.

Japanese source:

Deaf woman promotes "deaf volleyball" in Tohoku

May 26, 2014

Kyodo News featured a Deaf woman, Yanagawa Namiko (柳川奈美子) who was on the national women volleyball team at the Deaflympics.

Read more: 
Silence is golden for volleyballer after 3/11
Related blog:
Deaf women volleyball captain challenging

Training program for information support volunteers for national disability sports convention in Wakayama Prefecture

The participants practice the convention term
by national common sign language.
May 23, 2014

The 15th National Disability Sports Convention will be held in Wakayama Prefecture in western Japan on October 24-26, 2015.

The prefecture seeks the information support volunteer who supports information accessibility, guidance, etc. to a Deaf/deaf person, and opens a training program at any time from April. A sign language class will be offered at seven places and a note-taking class at six places. 

Twenty persons attended the program on sign language that opened in Shingu-machi at the night of May 21. They studied the basic knowledge of deafness and learnedd the convention related term by national common sign language.

The training participants are going to learn the communication to support the Deaf/deaf in the public announcement system or the hall guidance besides term related to sports or game, etc. from now on.

The program through sign language is carried out a total of 6 times from the day until August 20, and it is expected that technical knowledge required for activity will be mastered.

Japanese source:

Understanding to sign language promoted through dance workshop in Kanagawa Prefecture

The participants, inexperienced in sign language or a dance, are instructed how to dance with sign language from a group leader, TATSU (front left).

May 22, 2014

As part of the sports promotion plan of Hiratsuka-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture next to Tokyo, the "Hand Sign" cooperated to give the city residents the concern about health or welfare.

The Hand Sign that uses sign language in dancing was formed by five men from Hiratsuka-shi in 2005. The workshop (seven lessons for 3 months) has been started since April. The group teaches how to dance with sign language.

The participants who gathered by prior application is going to present the result of practice on the stage of a summer festival called the Shonan Hiratsu Tanabata festival in July.

The second workshop will be due in August.

Japanese source:

Deaf college student chosen to national Deaf futsal team for Asia/Pacific championships in Iran

Shitara, selected to the National Deaf
Futsal Team, is very motivated.
May 22, 2014
Shitara Takehide (設楽武秀), 21, a senior majoring in business information at Nagano University in Ueda-shi, Nagano in central Japan was chosen as one of the representatives of Deaf Japan for the first time to play futsal.

He will join in the 2nd Asia Pacific Deaf Futsal Championships which takes place in Teheran, Iran from August 28 through September 6, 2014. The world championships will be held in Thailand next fall, and Shitara is willing to play the game which leads to the championship.

Shitara is hard of hearing since birth, using a hearing-aid in everyday life. When he was a fourth grader, he began playing soccer with a local team in his hometown, Gummna Prefecture.

He went to Nagano University, saying "Its support to a student with disability is  substantial." He belonged to the soccer club and the futsal club, being a manager for the both clubs in the last fiscal year.

Japanese source:

New day-care center for the Deaf opens first in Toyama Prefecture

The day-care center for the Deaf called
"Big Hands, Little Hands" in a used house opens in Toyama-shi.
May, 20, 2014

The private day-care center for the Deaf, called "Big Hands, Little Hands," opened by a non-profit organization in Toyama-shi for the first time in Toyama Prefecture in northwestern Japan.

There are 105 Toyama-style day-care services that accept persons and children who have disabilities in the prefecture, and the nursing home only for the Deaf who depend mainly on sign language for communication is the first in the prefecture.

In the prefecture, about 800 Deaf persons use sign language for the everyday communication while 40 hearing persons who work as a sign language interpreter, etc.

For this reason, the Deaf persons are hardly able to take communication with hearing people in the usual facility and naturally tend to "be isolated" or depend on "home care."

The new center stations several care workers who are fluent in sign language to meet the needs of a Deaf client.

Moreover, devices that convey visual information to the Deaf client such like the TV program special for the Deaf broadcast with caption, a flush light device, etc. are prepared.

Japanese sources:

Measures in western Japan progress to the spread of sign language as "important language"

Students discuss some issues about sign language led by the Deaf lecturer (standing) in the "Japanese Sign Language" class at Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo Prefecture.

 May 15, 2014 
With sign language positioned as a language, the measure which aims at the spread and promotion of an understanding of the language has spread in the Kansai district including the prefectures of Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, etc.

The Human Welfare Department of the Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo Prefecture offers a course of "Japanese Sign Language" as one of the language courses, which about 200 students take every year.

Hirakata-shi in Osaka Prefecture trains the sign language interpreter in the medical field, groping for a system to help the Deaf person have proper medical treatment.

In 2008, the Human Welfare Departmane of the Kwansei Gakuin University opened the "Japanese Sign Language" course as one of the selective language courses required for credits. Students study the practical skill and attend the lecture on sign language in two years.

The team consisting of a Deaf instructor and a hearing counterpart. The Deaf instructor teaches practical skill only in signing, and the hearing one gives a lecture related to an introduction to "Deaf Culture" and  "Japanese Sign Language," respectively.

On May 14, the Deaf instructor, Maekawa Kazumi (前川和美), 38, gave a lecture for the first-year students on the theme of her own experience in Deaf education.

She described her experience with lipreading and oral method which forced her to learn, and pointed out the issue of deaf education in Japan.

Maekawa stated, "The language which a Deaf person understands completely is sign language. Lipreading and oral method will require a lot of energy only to catching what a hearing person speaks. I strongly believe the education in sign language is required."

"Japan is behind." One of the students who attended the lecture meeting said, "Hearing people not only learn sign language, but also they need to change the social consciousness to the Deaf community."

After the lecture in the past, some students aimed at becoming a sign language interpreter, or found a job at social welfare facilities or a governmental agency, which made them come in contact with the Deaf community in sign language.

The Hirakata-shi office started training "medical interpreting" in the 2013 fiscal year so that a foreigner and a Deaf/hearing loss person may feel easy to receive medical treatment. Although training of the medical interpreting in a foreign language has been achieved also in other self-governing bodies, the case for sign language is new.

It is difficult for Deaf persons to tell their own medical condition and to understand what the doctor says correctly in the medical environment. City officials in charge declares, "To communicate in sign language is required for a Deaf person receiving suitable medical treatment as the same as a hearing person."

Three sign language interpreters took the training course in the 2013 fiscal year. The city is going to establish the dispatch system of the medical interpreters including sign language before the end of the year 2014.

Japanese source:

Related links:
Group formed to start medical interpreting system in Osaka

Medical interpreting spread to support Deaf persons

"Medical interpreter" training class including sign language starts in Hirakata-shi, Osaka

Japanese sign language selected as "indispensable language" in university in Hyogo Prefecture

Video relay service for Deaf persons requires society's infrastructure

A Deaf woman uses a video relay service to convey an intention through the operator (right), who interprets her signed message simultaneously.

May 20, 2014 

The opinion is expressed one after another from the Deaf community about the video relay service for a person who are Deaf/deaf which Nippon Foundation located in Minato-ku, Tokyo started in 2013.

"I did not know a telephone was that convenient!"
"I got the wonderfulness which leads in real time!"

The demerit in the use of a telephone is serious for a Deaf/deaf person. They cannot get the work using a telephone. They cannot do reservation or an inquiry with a hospital, a restaurant, etc. simply. They cannot immediately contact a card issuer, etc., even if they lose a credit card. Indeed there is no system for the Deaf/deaf to make an emergency call quickly to the police office, the fire department, etc.

Nippon Foundation outsourced the entrepreneur who has sign language interpreters and note takers, and started relay service in a tentative way in September, 2013.

In the half a year since September, 658 Deaf/deaf persons registered. There was use for an average of 63 times and about 11 hours one day. There are about 900 current registrants.

According to Nippon Foundation, at least 21 nations mainly in Europe and the U.S. offer the video relay service for Deaf/deaf persons as one of the public services. In Asia, relay service is carried out in South Korea and Thailand.

In order to change the present condition that the Deaf community cannot use a telephone, Nippon Foundation will summarize the proposal in the near future which asks for equal access to a telephone, and work on the Diet (Parliament), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, a telecommunications company, etc.

Ishii Yasunobu (石井靖乃), the public benefit volunteer group chief of the Foundation, explained, "A Deaf person uses a telephone in the same way as, for example, a person with wheelchair using the elevator which the railroad company installed in order to use a train. We would like to make a society where a person uses telephone naturally even if he/she is Deaf or hard of hearing."

Japanese sources:

Related links:
Call for Deaf people to test telecommunication service

Popular telecommunication services for the Deaf in Japan

Opinion: Charge of video remote interpreting should be shared by all the telephone users


History of Japan Oral School for the Deaf

Dr. & Mrs. August Karl Reischauer
Japan Oral School for the Deaf is the only private school among about 100 schools for Deaf children in Japan.

It was founded in Tokyo in 1920 by Dr. & Mrs. August Karl Reischauer, the parents of Dr. Edwin O. Reischauer, the former U.S. Ambassador to Japan and Professor at Harvard University.

While Dr. & Mrs. Reischauer were serving as missionaries in Tokyo, their daughter Felicia lost her hearing because of high fever from pneumonia when she was only two months old.

They sought help through education, and Mrs. Reischauer took her daughter back to the U.S. to put her in one of the oral schools for the deaf in Chicago.

Read more (English):

Video remote interpreting tried as part of disaster preparedness drill in Saga Prefecture

Training participant signs his request through a tablet
computer while Governor Furukawa (right) watches.


May 19, 2014
The Saga Prefecture in southern Japan performed a comprehensive disaster-preparedness drill supposing a catastrophic natural disaster in two cities and two towns (Karatsu, Imari, Genkai, and Arita) on May 18, in which 1,800 persons from 84 organizations, such as Prefecture Police and fire fighting, etc., participated.

In addition to the conventional training, such as rescue and shelter management, there was video remote interpreting training using a tablet computer for the first time.

At the Prefecture Karatsu South High School in Karatsu positioned as a "welfare shelter" for persons with disabilities, Deaf persons tried the communication using the tablet computer connected with the Internet circuit to the Prefecture Deaf Support Center.

Japanese source:

Tokushima Prefecture first installs sign language interpreter in hospital

"Please feel free to ask for sign language interpreting"
in the prefecture medical center.

May 15, 2014

The prefecture medical center located in Tokushima-shi in western Japan began to station a sign language interpreter from April in order to support the Deaf client who visits the hospital.

The time and effort that the Deaf client him/herself arranges a sign language interpreter can be saved, and he/she can go to hospital regularly now in comfort.

From the current fiscal year, the Tokushima Prefecture Office has outsourced the social welfare corporation, which stations a sign language interpreter in the hospital from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the second and 4th Tuesdays.

The sign language interpreting offers the Deaf support in communication with the medical personnel for medical examination, the waiting room, etc.

Japanese source:

Tokyo prepares for 2020 Olympic Games and measures barrier-free by foreign sign languages

The participants learn American Sign Language
by a Deaf American teacher (right).

May 13, 2014

The Tokyo Metropolitan Office sets about training of the talented people who use a "foreign sign language" to carry out communication with a Deaf foreigner.

Sign language differs in expression for every country, and many of Japanese Sign Language are not easily understood by a Deaf foreigner.

Since the increase in Deaf visitors from overseas for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and the Paralympics is expected, Tokyo aims at the spread of "American Sign Language" which is comparatively high in demand, and the "International Sign Language," a formal sign language used at an international conference, etc.

Foreign sign languages are seldom known in Japan. The Metropolitan Office Welfare Health Service Bureau does not grasp how many persons who use foreign sign language are in the metropolitan area, either.

Due to such the actual condition, the Metropolitan Office appropriated 10 million yen for the budget in the current year in order to support the cost of attendance of a class, etc.

Are you coming to Tokyo in 2020?

Japanese source:

Miyazaki Prefecture offers free rubella antibody examination

May 13, 2014

Miyazaki Prefecture has offered the free antibody test for the women and spouses who wish to have a baby at about 330 medical institutions within the prefecture till March, next year. The test is to investigate the existence of the immunity to German measles.

The German measles patient went up to about 14,000 persons in Japan last year, and 25 persons were infected also in the prefecture.

When a pregnant woman is infected, an embryo has a possibility that cardiac disease, a cataract, hearing loss, etc. may come out.

Japanese source:

Lecture on volunteering held for college students in Saga Prefecture

May 10, 2014

The "Lecture for Student Volunteers " started in the Prefecture Deaf Support Center in Saga-shi located in the southern Japan on May 7.

This lecture aims at promoting the students to gain an understanding of deafness and get interested in communication with a person with hearing loss, with three lectures of sign language, note taking, and caption production for two months (all the 6 times).

Over 30 students from a university or a vocational school took the first lecture on "Feature of Deafness and Information Accessibility."

The first lecturer on sign language, Koda Yoshiko (香田佳子) spoke about the kind of auditory difficulties, and the diversity of sign language. She says that about 3,400 persons have a disability handbook by auditory difficulties in the prefecture now.

Koda explained that the methods of required support or communication needs differ by the degree of hearing ability, the time of hearing loss, and educational environment.

She continues, "About the convenience of sign language, a mistake is not made in sign language while there is a spoken word which is difficult to distinguish only from the mouth movement."

The Saga University student who took the lecture said, "I will be eager to participate in the lecture on note taking, too. I would like to be skilled so that Deaf or hard of hearing persons feel happy."

Japanese source:

Note taking as important means of communication for persons deafened

A part of the experience lecture: a hearing participant (right) covers his ears by the hands as if he were deafened while other one (left) tells him what the lecturer said by writing.

May 9, 2014

With progress of an aged society, the need of "note taking" which is one of the communication means for a person with hearing loss is increasing.

Although note taking is recognized less compared with "sign language", it is an important means of communication to get information.

The person who lost hearing because of illness or aging, or who feels hard to learn sign language, etc. is often using the note taking service.

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare conducted the investigation on the persons with disabilities nationwide which carried out random sampling in 2006.

Among 338 persons with hearing loss, while 64 persons (18.9%) use sign language and sign-language interpreting, those who are using note-taking reached about 1.5 times with 102 persons (30.2%).

On April 15, Shigemura Tomoko (重村智子), 51, who gave a lecture in the social welfare center in Yamaguchi-shi in western Japan lost hearing at the age of 22. She said that she was unable to accept the disability easily but that she was not also able to use sign language at first.

She asked for the note-taking service in order to obtain the qualification as a care manager and a care worker. "What is written is all information I get. I was able to obtain qualification just because I had the note taker."

In convey the written information, when to tell many people in a meeting, a lecture, etc., the overhead projector or a computer is used, and a note is written for a person.

In the experience lecture held on April 22,  Futaoka Keiko (二岡敬子), a 51-year-old experienced note-taker, explained that the principle of note taking is "quick", "right" and "readable."

Japanese source:

Tottori Prefecture Police‘s musical band concert with sign language takes place

The short course on sign language; 
the sign shown means "police."

May 8, 2014

The Tottori Prefecture Police held the 186th Prefecture Office Promenade Concert with its musical band in the prefecture office auditorium.

For the public relations to be known sincerely by the people in the prefecture, the general personnel, who was hired through disability employment scheme, gave the short course on sign language, and also music, etc. were expressed in sign language to heap up the concert.

The Prefecture Sign Language Ordinance was enforced last year, and concern of the people about sign language is high in the prefecture. The performance for the public relations by sign language is the first trial.

Japanese source:

Band group performs using sign language in Akita Prefecture

The concert was held with the performance that combined a band performance and sign language.

May 7, 2014

The concert of a band group named "The  Gadan-kadan (我譚歌団)" (leader Ito Taketo (伊藤健人) and nine members), which performs activity combined a band performance and sign language, was held in the National Cultural Festival Satellite Center in Akita-shi in the prefecture on May 6.

Eight members performed 12 hit songs and other member translated the words in a song into sign language, dancing at the same time.

About 100 shoppers gathered there, enjoying the powerful stage performance. They clapped the hands along with the band group, or swayed the body, enjoying themselves.

Ito, a teacher of the Prefecture School for the Deaf, called to his coworkers, and they launched the band group in 2006. The group participated with Deaf students in the fine-arts event for the high school students called the "AKITA Casual Arts Fiesta" that opened in the city in the same year.

Japanese source:

Event to be held for funding to build home of Deaf elderly people in Wakayama

Watanabe Yoichi, a battlefield cameraman.

May 7, 2014
The lecture meeting of Watanabe Yoichi (渡部陽一), a well-known battlefield cameraman who is continuing taking a photograph on the battlefields, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, will be held in the Prefecture Cultural Center in Wakayama-shi on May 10. Interpreting provided.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf is raising the fund for building the institution not only for the Deaf including the Deaf elderly people, but also persons with multiple handicaps. They sponsor the event, planning to contribute the proceeds from this lecture meeting to the fund.

Fukuda Mieko (福田美枝子), president of the association explains, "In order for a Deaf person to take communication, sign language and writing are required. A Deaf person will be isolated if he lives in the same institution as a hearing person. We are appealing by saying that you come to our lecture meeting and help us in making the fund of an institution since a Deaf person can live happily in an institution only for the Deaf."

Japanese source:

Handkerchief produced for Deaf community to use at time of disaster

The handkerchief to convey when help is needed.
It is printed with a word in both Japanese and English.

May 6, 2014

The Shiogama-shi Social Welfare Council in Miyagi Prefecture produced 300 "handkerchiefs" which Deaf persons use for the time of a disaster, or an emergency.

The 20-cm-around-squared towel was distributed to about 150 persons in the city through the disability welfare association and the welfare-related business.

There had been an opinion from the Deaf community that something was needed to call for help at the time of a disaster evacuation after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

There is already an example with the similar bandanna in the self-governing bodies of the metropolitan area, and it is said the first trial in the prefecture.

Social Welfare Council officials stated, "When a person with disability cannot cross the ramp on a road with a wheelchair or is unable to carry a heavy load, he can show a handkerchief even in a daily situation."

Japanese source:

Fire-fighting ambulance officers attend sign language workshop in Ishikari-shi

Language session (left): the ambulance officers learn basic sign language.
Practical scene (right): the rescue officer (left) communicates with the Deaf person in sign language at an emergency spot.

May 1, 2014

Ishikari-shi in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, has enforced the Basic Ordinance on Sign Language since April 1, this year.

The sign language workshop for ten ambulance officers of the northern Ishikari area association of fire-fighting offices was held by cooperation of Ishikari-shi office and the Ishikari Association of the Deaf on April 22.

In training, the ambulance officers learned the basic words and phrases in sign language, such as "rescue crew," "illness," "In what part of your body do you feel painful?," "Which hospital do you go usually?", etc. Also for the practice, the Deaf lecturer played the role of a patient in an emergency scene.

The Deaf person who has observed the study session said, "If a rescue officer uses sign language at the emergency spot, such like "I understand," "I am going to take you to the hospital right away," etc. I will feel safe."

Japanese source: