Deaf students participate in promotion campaign of national high school athletic meet  

March 28, 2015     
Completed T-shirts and Deaf students

Wakayama-shi, Wakayama Prefecture:

The National High School Athletic Meet will take place in Wakayama Prefecture to be participated by six prefectures in Kinki area including Osaka in western Japan, July 28-August 20.

To raise awareness of this event, the Prefecture High School Students Active Promotion Committee" consisted from high school students in Wakayama Prefecture worked awareness activity around JR Wakayama station in Wakayama-shi on March 26.

The original T-shirt that those students put on was presented by students of the Prefecture Wakayama School for the Deaf, who made it as a part of the clothes making course at school.

Japanese source:

Cafeteria where persons with disabilities work opens in city office

March 26, 2015

Sunny space for parents with little children 
The new cafeteria offers about 350 meals a day.

Sakai-shi, Osaka Prefecture:

The cafeteria called "Mori no kitchen (Kitchen in Woods)" opened underground in Sakai-shi government office in western Japan on February 2. It serves as a working place of the persons with disabilities as well as the base to promote charm of the city.

City officials said it was the first cafeteria in a government office building as a government ordinance city that employs persons with disabilities. The social welfare corporation called Cosmos that has a vocational aid center in the city, manages the new cafeteria.

Seven persons with disabilities, including a Deaf person, work in the kitchen with  the hourly wage 300 yen. About 350 meals are served a day such like noodles, rice bowl dishes and the daily set menu, etc. 

Japanese source:

English article: Single mother with disability vying for seat in Tokyo’s Kita Ward

March 25, 2015  


Rie Saito, a deaf single mother and former top hostess in Tokyo's Ginza district who is running in the April 26 election in the city's Kita Ward, says she wants to create a society where people with disabilities can be more active.

Read more:

Related blog:
Deaf woman to use SNS for campaign in local assembly election

Disability seats to be available for the public in city assembly meeting

March 25, 2015  

Ichinomiya-shi, Aichi Prefecure:

Eight seats exclusively saved for persons with disabilities will be available in the public of Ichinomiya-shi Assembly in central Japan. Even neither the prefecture assembly nor Nagoya-shi assembly has introduced such a system, and the move of Ichinomiya-shi is the first as an assembly of an autonomous body with more than three hundred thousand people of population in the prefecture.

A proposed amendment of a hearing regulation was approved at the city assembly regular meeting on March 24, and it will be applied from a regular meeting in June.

The city assembly secretariat explained the move: after more than twenty members of a Deaf group watched a regular meeting with interpreting in June, 2014, some of the members were concerned about the position of the interpreter who stood in front of the seat for the public, stating it might disturb other hearing persons to see the meeting from a public seat.

On the other hand, some persons from the Nagoya-shi Welfare Association for Persons with Disabilities commented, "the divided seats for the public will possibly rather lead to discrimination. It's important to share one another at the same viewpoint in fact".

Japanese source:

English article: Athletes spread the word about Deaflympics

March 25, 2015


In 2013, the “Deaflympics support project team” was formed and organized promotional events. Athletes had positive exchanges with professional athletes and local teams. In January, they held a joint training camp with Hokkaido-based athletes.

Their voices have started to be heard by local governments. For the first time ever, this fiscal year the Tottori and Tokushima prefectural governments have designated some Deaflympics athletes for special funding. However, such developments are still the exception and are far from solving the financial problems that plague the athletes.

Deaf group concerned with sign language use at prefecture assembly

March 21, 2015

Hyogo Prefecture:

Responding to the problem that the assembly member who introduced himself using sign language before a general question at the  prefecture assembly plenary session was warned by the assembly secretariat, the Prefecture Association of the Deaf has submitted a letter of request on March 13 to the Prefecture Assembly Chairperson so that anyone can use sign language freely at the assembly.

The letter stated: Assuming that "sign language is a language", the Association asked about recognition of sign language and pointed out that "To be different in handling of sign language as the same Japanese is a question." As prescribed in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Association requested to promote the use of sign language even at the assembly.

Japanese source:

Related blog:

Prefecture assembly member warned for using sign language at the floor

Nogata School for the Deaf ends its service

March 22, 2015
The student gives a speech in sign language at the 
closing ceremony at the Nogata School for the Deaf.

Nogata-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture:

The closing ceremony took place in the Prefectural Nogata School for the Deaf in Nogata-shi located in Japan's southern island on March 21. About 370 people concerned, including the students, guardians, alumni, etc., witnessed the end of the 67-year history of the school.

The school was established in 1948, the only one that has worked on education for the deaf in the Chikuho area. About 200 students were enrolled between 1950-1960. A student gave a speech, "We feel very sad to see our school to be closed where we had a good school life, but each of us will never forget the strong feeling for our old school".

The school will be merged with the Prefecture Nogata school for special education and make a new start as Prefecture Nogata special support school in April. There are 27 preschooler through ninth graders at the school for the Deaf, and 22 out of them will be transferred to the new school.

Japanese source:

Shilwatch, "wristwatch-type terminal" popular at unexpected places

March 18, 2015  

Saito Masaru, a hearing-loss man aged 85, is currently president of Tokyo Shinyu, the company that produces and sales the daily living equipment in Tokyo. At the age of 74, he developed a terminal of the wristwatch type called "Shilwatch" to support a life of a Deaf/hard of hearing person.

Shilwatch conveys various information by vibration and liquid crystal display. It is connected with an intercom to tell the user about a visitor, or it is connected with the telephone to tell the arrival of a fax. Moreover when using a special pin microphone, Shilwatch reacts to baby's cry and vibrates.

Actually Shilwatch is used at an unexpected place, getting popular. For example some staff uses the device to get only one staff without bothering anyone else at a store/commercial establishment.

Even in the factory that big sound is ringing to warn for an error often unnoticed by a worker, Shilwatch is also connected with a manufacturing machine at a production site so that it tells error occurrence to the person in charge at once. By doing it, reduction in loss and efficiency are achieved.

Moreover, Shilwatch achieves service improvement such as it is used to call a student part-timer at a university library which requires a quiet environment. 

Shilwatch may be a quite multi-purposed tool, such as using as a kitchen timer, a crime prevention tool at home/office, a emergency contact tool at the time of disaster, etc.

Japanese source:

Tokyo Shinyu Co. website (Japanese):
This company has a branch office in the UK according to the website.

Disaster prevention administrative radio to be digitalized

March 18, 2015  
Large monitor of the integrated broadcast 
equipment used in a new disaster protection 
administrative radio system in Shimabara City Office.

Shimabara-shi, Kumamoto-ken:

Shimabara-shi in Japan's southern island will start to use a new disaster protection administrative radio system digitalized in April. The city has experienced Unzen-Fugendake eruption disaster in 1990-1991, intending to build a strong community against a natural disaster.

The city sends a text information by an e-mail and a cable TV (CATV) screen to each house receivers and registrant's cellular phones for Deaf persons as well as audio information through a loudspeaker in each city branch and "disaster prevention radio" of every household deployment, etc.

Japanese source:

Deaf persons learn a flow of a fire fighting emergency call

March 18, 2015      
A group of Deaf persons visit a fire 
fighting order center over glass.

Kamo-cho, Nagano Prefecture :

The highly functional fire fighting direction center in the Fire Fighting Head Office located in Kamo-cho in central Japan will accept an emergency report from a Deaf person through an e-mail or a fax from April.

Members of Chino-shi Association of the Deaf in the prefecture visited the center on March 13, learned how to give a direction through a screen in the center and deepened the understanding about a flow from reception of an emergency call to dispatch.
An emergency call by an e-mail or a fax was accepted only by Chino Fire Department among the six fire departments under the head office up to now. Following the request of the Association of the Deaf, all the six Fire Departments in the city will accept an emergency call from a Deaf person.

Japanese source:

Deaf and hearing persons share experience in shelter management game

March 17, 2015  
The "shelter management game"

Kofu-shi, Yamanashi Prefecture:

A group of Deaf persons and interpreters held an event on how to manage a shelter at the time of a disaster with hearing persons at the Town Public Hall in Kofu-shi in the prefecture, part of eastern Japan on March 15. About 80 Deaf and hearing persons participated in the "shelter management game". 

The game intends to provide some experience in shelter management, played by participants through the use of cards, on which vital informations such as the gender of the refuge, family structure and a chronic disease, etc. are written, to put on a sketch of a shelter.

It was assumed that a great earthquake occurred in the sea near Shizuoka Prefecture on the day, and an elementary school as a shelter. The Deaf participants shared an opinion one another with the hearing counterparts through the interpreters about the location of the relief resource and the television, and discussed where an infant, the family with a pet and a sick person should stay as if being a local body official.

The event committee said, "Such an experience will be helpful to both a Deaf person with the less information and a hearing person to come into action together".

Japanese source:

City distributes emergency vest for free of charge

March 16, 2015  

Komae-shi, Tokyo:

Komae-shi in Tokyo has begun to distribute a vest for free of charge. It calls people around for appropriate consideration and attention in order to get support when a persons with visual impairment takes refuge in the time of a disaster, etc. 

The city plans to make the vest attached with a reflective tape showing "I am Deaf", having appropriated for the 2015  budget as necessary expenses. 

Japanese source:

Sign language regulation concluded by Gunma prefecture assembly

March 13, 2015 

Gunma Prefecture:

The draft of the prefecture sign language ordinance which aims at the spread of sign language was approved by an unanimous vote at the Prefecture Assembly in Gunma Prefecture next to Tokyo on March 12. It is third following Tottori and Kanagawa among the 47 prefectures.

The ordinance requests the prefecture to cooperate with the towns and villages in the prefecture and to make an effort toward the spread of sign language and environmental improvement. Also educational environmental improvement for sign language at school, signing skills improvement of teaching staffs and a learning opportunity of sign language to offer Deaf students and their guardians are set.

About 120 Deaf people and their families from the prefecture inside and outside thronged to a seat for the public in the Assembly, clapping up when the draft was approved.

Hayakawa Kenichi, chief director of the  Prefecture Federation of the Deaf stated at a press conference, "We were very happy. We'd like to get information like any hearing person and grow from now on".

Japanese sources:

Okinawa University joins national organization for deaf students support, first in prefecture 

March 13, 2015  

Okinawa Prefecture:

Okinawa University in Japan's southern island joined the organization called the "PEPNet-Japan" (a sister organization of the Postsecondary Education Network in the US)  which supports the Deaf student who attends an institution of higher education in Japan, being the first in the Okinawa Prefecture, and the second in the Kyushu and Okinawa area.

 PEPNet-Japan has memberships of 20 colleges/universities and two organizations in Japan at present, holding meetings and workshops for information sharing and developing teaching materials, etc. 

Okinawa University started the committee on campus to support a Deaf/hearing loss student in 2004. Since then a student volunteer ha taken notes for a Deaf/hearing loss student instead in the classroom; a coordinator for Deaf support has offered counseling on the student life. 

The disability support coordinator plans to deepen cooperation by sharing of know-how going around each university in the prefecture from now on.

Japanese source:
PEN-International homepage:

NEC offers system to operate real-time texting from distant place

March 12, 2015

NEC Solution Innovators, Ltd. in Tokyo announced on March 12 that they developed a remote texting system as well as the "support system" that has the mechanism to reduce a burden of a coordinator for note-takers, starting business. 

This system with the use of a computer and the Internet makes texting from a distant place possible through a cloud server. A burden of the coordinator in charge would be reduced by doing arrangement and schedule control of note takers  by this system.

The company has piled up a demonstration experiment with educational institutions, including colleges/universities, since 2012, has performed functional enhancement based on various needs in a use site and has begun servicing in earnest. It plans to provide the system to 100 groups for 3 years from now on.

Japanese source:

Prefecture assembly member warned for using sign language at the floor

March 10, 2015

Hyogo Prefecture:

During the Hyogo Prefecture Assembly plenary session on February 26, Maruo Maki, 50, a member of the prefecture assembly, made self-introduction in sign language at the beginning of the question related to interpreting arrangement to a prefecture hospital. 

In response to the remark about Maruo's irrespective questioning "that's a redundant act" from certain committee members at the assembly guiding committee on March 2, an assembly secretariat warned Maruo.

The prefecture assembly doesn't set up a clear regulation to sign language use at the floor according to the assembly secretariat. It is refrained from expressing gratitude to a person in hearing or waving the hand according to an agreement of each assembly group.

The secretariat, which had arranged interpreters by request of Maruo in order to meet the needs of Deaf persons for a seat for the public on the day, explains, "Anyway it wasn't necessary to make a self-introduction by sign language. We don't mean to deny sign language, but we want everyone to follow rules."

Maruo states, "I thought online video on a general question was delivered to the Internet, which I believed this would make viewers feel sign language close."

In the prefecture assembly plenary session held in October, 2014, Maruo introduced himself by sign language and took a warning from the assembly secretariat.

Hyogo prefecture assembly has adopted the opinion document which asks Government for establishment of "Sign Language Regulation" in October, last year.

While the spreads of sign language being developed, the Hyogo Prefecture Association of the Deaf says, "Sign language is linguistic one. It can also be said discrimination to a Deaf person, and we cannot overlook the Maruo case." They will ask the prefecture assembly for the explanation soon.

Japanese source:

Prefecture to introduce tablet into prefectural facilities for effective communication with persons with disabilities

March 10, 2015  

Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka in western Japan is promoting utilization of an information terminal as one step to realize  "universal society". For persons who are Deaf/hearing loss, the application which helps easy communication by writing or texting via speech has been used for free of charge already. There is also an application to expand the Japanese character for weak-sighted persons to read.

Based on the situation that exclusive "free application" is enriched, Hyogo Prefecture will  introduce a tablet terminal in 235 prefecture facilities as a communication tool with the persons with disabilities in 2015.

Because of the use of a free application, about 11,000,000 yen appropriated for the budget at first will be the buying expenses of the terminal accounts for the most part as Prefecture officials explain.

Japanese source:

Shuttle bus with wrong direction fails Deaf students at bus stop  

March 9, 2015

Akita-shi, Akita Prefecture:

On March 9, it was found out that the shuttle bus that departed the JR Akita Station east entrance showed the wrong destination by mistake.

At least 4 passengers including two students of the Prefecture School for the Deaf were waiting for a bus at the east entrance stop, but failed to  pick them up. The Akita-chuo Traffic Company moved around a substitution bus in 15 minutes late.

The company said that when a male driver input six digits of number and indicated the destination he made a mistake in the number.  

Japanese source:

College students learn sign language for national disabilities sports event

March 7, 2015
The students practice sign language 
with Fukuda (left), a Deaf instructor .

Wakayama-shi, Wakayama Prefecture:

The new course for a "team support volunteer" has been held at the city medical association nursing college in Wakayama-shi in March. 

Volunteers are expected to come into action for six days, leading players, doing an assistance, etc. at the 15th National Disabilities Sports event which will take place on October 24-26 in the prefecture in western Japan. 

The prefecture has opened the course at 14 schools related to medical treatment and welfare one after another in its prefecture, advancing training about 1,200 student volunteers.

A lecture is all three lessons, including orientation, sign language and note taking, which 37 freshmen are registered. They learned about sign language, deafness from Fukuda Mieko, president of the prefecture association of the Deaf, as a lecture on March 6.

One of the students commented, "I hope I remember what I learned, and make sure that I can support every player well".

Japanese source:

Boradcasters judged not violations on TV programs about fake Deaf composer

March 6, 2015

The Broadcast Inspection Committee of Broadcast Ethics and Program Improvement System (BPO) published a final view about seven programs aired by five broadcasters on Samuragouchi Mamoru as a  "genius Deaf composer" on March 6.

It was found out that while being Deaf himself Samuragouchi had commissioned an another person to compose a piece of music actually in February, 2014. 

About many documentary programs had been aired to introduce him before he was found to be a fake, the committee investigated the programs and their broadcasters, stating, "It is obvious that these programs were suspected of falseness, giving misunderstanding to an audience".

On a result of the investigation, the committee explained, "It was also due to insufficient research by the broadcasters on coverage of the composition activity of Samuragouchi and his deafness. However, we judged that it is impossible to say there was a broadcast violation of ethics in each target program".

The committee chairperson also demands each broadcaster to inspect its work thoroughly and explain the result to an audience.

Japanese sources:

Related blogs:
Famaous composer was fake deaf

Yokohama city states about the fake deaf composer and his disability card

Hearing loss organization interviewed on Samuragouchi case, saying "We are misunderstood"

Prefecture uses YouTube as public information medium in sign language for Deaf community

March 6, 2015 

Kochi-shi, Kochi Prefecture:

The Kochi prefecture in western Japan recently started uploading of a sign language version of the public information newsletter, the January and February issues in "YouTube", respectively. 

It can be viewed also every month on the prefecture's official website ( 

This move was due to the demand of the Deaf community in the prefecture.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf and the Prefecture Information Center for the Deaf, in cooperation, produce the video of each issue of the public information newsletter for approximately 20 minutes. Without an interpreter, three members of the association read a newsletter and translate it into sign language.

Approximately 3,000 Deaf people live in the prefecture reportedly.

Japanese source:

High school for the Deaf supports its students aiming at studying abroad

March 6, 2015

Sakai-shi, Osaka Prefecture:

The Prefecture Daisen Support High School for the Deaf in Sakai-shi has started a program to support a student aiming at studying abroad from April, 2014. It offers a monthly English course as well as an American Sign Language workshop. 

The workshop is held monthly after school for the student who wants to learn more ASL. One of the students attended it has a goal; going to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. She said, "I'd like to learn American culture and make many foreign friends".

The students are now able to communicate in English and ASL, such like including self-introduction, etc. after study in about half year.

The principal explains, "Even if there is a barrier, students want to play an active part overseas. We'd like to prepare the way tightly so that they would not give up because of a language barrier". Only the problem is that there are few English teachers who can handle ASL.

Japanese source:

Deaf school prepares for nuclear accident by evacuation drill

March 5, 2015  

Matsue-shi, Shimane Prefecture:

In preparation for an accident of Chugoku Electric Power Shimane nuclear power plant located in western Japan, an evacuation drill took place on March 4 at the Prefecture Matsue School for the Deaf in Matsue-shi southern about 4.5 kilometers from the nuclear power plant.

Assuming that the no.2 machine of the nuclear power plant was deprived of the cooling function because of a breakdown of a power supply, 28 students from preschoolers through high school students and about 60 teachers and staffs participated in a drill. 

The children noticed a flash of the red light in the school which tells an abnormal outbreak and  gathered in the audio training room, led by the teachers and staffs using sign language. 

The children put on a blanket, boarded a school bus and moved to the gymnasium in the school where was chosen as the evacuation place beforehand. The teachers directed the children, saying, "Come in immediately in the building, and avoid the outside air." 

Japanese source:

Deaf woman to use SNS for campaign in local assembly election

 March 5, 2015          
Saito Rie (center) is ready for a press 
conference in the Diet on February 25. 

KIta-ku, Tokyo:

With her campaign slogan,"realization of barrier-free society", Saito Rie, 31, the Deaf woman who worked as a hostess at Ginza in Tokyo, will run for the Kita-ku assembly election (vote and counting on April 26) by official recognition from one of the political parties in KIta-ku in Tokyo.

She doesn't hold a microphone because she does not speak well, and she plans to use the Internet for her election campaign, while confirming the rule with the Kita-ku Election Administration Committee.

Saito, the mother a 4-year-old girl, will put up women social advancement and child rearing support reinforcement. She also states she would like to put the effort into support system building for persons with disabilities employment in particular.

According to the Kita-ku election administration, not only a distribution of a flyer is forbidden during a campaign, but also a conversation by means of writing at the street conflicts in the public office election law. However, as "net election" is currently permitted by a legal revision in April, 2013, Saito intends to send messages enthusiastically by a blog and an exchange site (SNS)".

The assembly secretariat will study how to  support Saito in the assembly meeting with a device such as a speech software in case that she would be elected.

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Deaf nightclub hostess announces candidacy for ward assembly election

Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare decides about disability employment guideline for corporate

March 2, 2015  

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare decided about the guideline which shows a concrete instance of the obligation regarding reasonable accommodations that all enterprises should provide at the time of recruitment and employment of a person with disabilities on March 2.

The guideline is asking an enterprise to tell a person with visual impairment by audio clues, or adjust the height of a person with disability's operational desk so that a person with disabilities may demonstrate the ability.

It also mentions that an enterprise should communicate with a Deaf/deaf person through writing during job interview.

The guideline, which will be enforced in April, 2016, consists of two parts: "provision of reasonable accommodations" and "prohibition of discrimination". 

The Prefecture Labor Bureau guides or advises to the enterprise that violates the guideline.

Japanese source:

Deaf actor lectures at sign language festival

March 2, 2015   
Izaki Tetsuya lectures while 
showing signed performance.

Tsu-shi, Mie Prefecture:

The first "Ear Care Day - Sign Language Performance", aiming at the spread of an understanding of sign language, was held at the Tsu Center Palace in western Japan on March 1.

The Prefecture Association of the Deaf sponsored this event associated with the "Ear Care Day" of March 3. Three hundred persons including the Deaf participated and enjoyed the event with a drama and dancing performance by three groups in the prefecture, and a bazaar of handicrafts items as well as a lecture.

Izaki Tetsuya, 62, gave a lecture on how to enjoy a performance. He is a Deaf actor and sub leader of the "Japanese Deaf Theatre", dealing with ambitious performances using sign language such as the pantomime and the 'Kyogen' (Japanese traditional comedy).

Japanese source:

Deaf soccer group organizes festival for promotion

The children run after a ball 
with a national soccer player. 
February 28, 2015  

Kamigori-cho, Hyogo Prefecture:

The first JDFA (Japan Deaf Football Association) Festival" by Japan's Deaf soccer team players was opened on February 28 in the Harimakoto soccer stadium in Hyogo Prefecture next to Osaka in order to promote awareness of Deaf football activities. 

Not only an invitation game but also technical guidance to boys and girls were held, and a smiling face of each participant running after a ball was seen in the ground.

The national team players, both soccer and futsal,  organized such a social event including an invitation game for the first time on February 28 - March 1 along with their training camp.

Japanese source:

Town assembly tests practical use of realtime captioning system

February 27, 2015
The monitor of the realtime captioning system was installed 
in a seat for the public in the Karuizawa-machi assembly.

Karuizawa-machi, Nagano Prefecture:

Karuizawa-machi assembly north from Tokyo has started a test with the realtime captioning system which indicates a remark at the floor in the assembly meeting on February 26 when the regular meeting for March was held.

The assembly office explains as a part of assembly reform in order to make many townspeople who are Deaf/deaf, senior citizens, etc. understand a remark at the floor by the system. The system is continued experimentally within the year before a decision is made on whether to introduce it.

"The Minutes Research Center" in Tokyo has offered without charge for tests. It says the assembly which introduces the realtime captioning system is unusual nationwide including test practical use.

Japanese source:

Deaf nightclub hostess announces candidacy for ward assembly election

February 25, 2015      
Saito Rie tells her decision on her 
candidacy by means of writing.

Kita-ku, Tokyo:
Saito Rie, 31, a woman with hearing impairment, explained that she would runs for the Kita-ku election in Tokyo (notification on April 19 and voting and vote counting on April 26) as one of the officially-ticketed candidates of the political party named "The Assembly to Energize Japan" as a part of the unification local election in April. 

She turned over each page of a sketchbook that a message was written about her running at the press conference in the Diet on February 25. Her agenda as a politician, as she states, are "barrier-free society", "female social advancement", "child rearing and low birthrate problem".

Asked about a reason for running, Saito answered by means of writing again,  "I am a hearing-impaired person, a mother and also a woman. I'd like to change society as a person concerned." 

Saito is an author of a best-seller autobiography titled "The Hostess Talks In Writing".

Japanese sources: