September 20, 2015
Otokita Shun, a Tokyo metropolitan assembly member, blogged his opinion as follows:
- Sign language is a language.
- Historically, sign language has been oppressed and taken a chance of acquisition and culture away from the Deaf community.
- Reconsideration was made recent years, and sign language was written clearly in the law in 2011.
- That establishment of "Sign Language Law" or "Sign Language Regulation" becomes an earnest wish for the Deaf community continuously.
There is a case that the local politics advances to solve that problem which it's difficult to advance drastically by the Government, and the "Sign Language regulation" is one considered by local governments currently.
But as one of the biggest issues in case of the establishment of such a law on Sign Language as some groups point out: "It is not only a Deaf person is in trouble about communication," "Though there are various measures such as subtitles for a deafened person, Braille, etc. Why is it only sign language?"
Moreover there is also criticism; "There are a very small number of native signers. Why is it necessary to make a regulation for them?"
Actually, neither the local government nor the Government have an official statistics on the Deaf people population in Japan.
The regulation "Sign Language and Communication for the Person with Disabilities Regulation"which was passed by the Akashi-shi assembly in Hyogo Prefecture, is a good example to settle such problem. (Japanese version: https://www.city.akashi.lg.jp/fukushi/fu_soumu_ka/syuwa/jyoreisakutei.html)
The regulation includes the spread promotion of note taking, Braille, transliteration, etc. to respond the criticism as above-stated.
Yanetani Atsuko, the first and only Deaf assembly woman elected in Akashi who uses sign language as her first language, was strong in a draft of the regulation. She indicated understanding and was a bridge of an adjustment with persons concerned.
She said that the groups related to hard of haring persons, deafened persons, and persons with other disabilities didn't feel resistance to the draft regulation.
Akashi-shi is a good example to decide to include the communication needs of other person with disabilities, and work on an adjustment between the groups concerned, leading to accomplish with very good results for a Sign Language regulation.