Interpreting arrangement for Deaf assembly woman

September 5, 2015   
Yanetani, a Deaf assembly woman, 
questions using sign language in 
Akashi-shi assembly regular meeting.

Akashi-shi, Hyogo:

It has been about four months since Yanetani Atsuko, 55, was elected as the first Deaf-born assembly member in Akashi-shi, near Osaka.

She questioned about welfare policy substantiality in the regular meeting in June in sign language with interpreting.  When she visited a home for the aged in Niigata, northern Japan, on a committee inspection in July. Accompanied by an interpreter, she interviewed a facility staff about how to communicate with a person with disabilities, etc.

The City Assembly assigns interpreters by public expense in the plenary session, the conference and the inspection and others. When requested for hearing to a city meeting, the city puts interpreters. A supplementary budget of 4,000,000 yen was put as the compensation cost to the interpreters. 

When a municipal officer reports a administrative movement of  every week as a principle, interpreting is provided. About the other activities, the city will make a decision which activities can be covered with the monthly cost (80,000 yen) before April, 2016.

Hyogo Prefecture Association of the Deaf insists that any political activity by a Deaf assembly member without paying an own expense equally as a hearing counterpart. 

On the other hand, one of the welfare persons concerned in the city points out, "It is difficult to get the local residents understood to allow a Deaf assembly member to attend a small meeting in an area at public expense."

Yanetani says, "It's an important activity also to understand what the participants talk through interpreting and grasp the real state of affairs of the area."

The Kita-ku assembly in Tokyo has Saito Rie, 31, a deaf assembly woman who was elected on the same day as Yanetani, applying a device that works for both writing-to-speech and realtime captioning with cost of about 4,000,000 yen.

Saito works actively by lipreading and writing with no special special expenses by the ward according to the ward secretariat.


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