Smelling alarm unit developed to save Deaf persons from the fire

The spray (center), filled with the smell like wasabi or the horseradish, is put in a right case and synchronizes with the fire-alarm device for the house (left).

The alarm unit that cautions the Deaf by the horseradish-like smell when a fire is perceived was donated to the prefectural school for the deaf in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecutre on April 25, 2009.

A company called Shimusu in Tokyo that develops products with various kinds of the smell, and the Air Water Disaster Prevention in Kobe City that manufactures and sells the fire-extinguisher system developed the new alarm unit jointly.

The smell is made of the painful element contained in the horseradish, which can be noticed even if one is asleep.

Representatives of the two companies visited the school and handed the product to the principal and others on the day. It is installed in the dormitory where ten Deaf children live.

Kayoko Miyazaki (57), the mother of a 9th grader who lives in the dormitory attended the donating event as a parent representative. She said, "My son puts his hearing aid off before going to bed. I am relieved that not only seeing but also smelling will save him".

The alarm unit is about 50,000 yen together with the fire-alarm device for the house. The can of spray filled with 35ml is gushed for one time.

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Charity group travel by bicycle calling for fund-raising to help Deaf junior high school to be established

GDC members leave for Sapporo, Hokkaido
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GDC members are presented T-shirt by Deaf children
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The charity group of the employees of foreign-affiliated companies in Tokyo, named "GDC" (Give a Dream a Chance) started pedaling along to Sapporo in Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, on April 24, 2009.

They are calling for fund-raising to assist the junior high school in the Meisei Gakuen in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo to be established next April. The school is well known to educate the Deaf children in "Japanese Sign Language" as their first language.

Eleven GDC members including four foreigners departed putting on T-shirt presented by the Deaf children at Meisei Gakuen. They said, "we will do our best so that the their dream comes true. Help the fund-raising drive by all means when you see us in the road".

The group members are also accompanied alternatively on the way to arrive in Sapporo on May 5, 2009. They aim to collect 1.246 million yen according to the mileage 1246 kilos to Sapporo from Tokyo.

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Deaf theatrical group starts training course on acting in Tokyo

The Japanese Theater of the Deaf (JTD), located in Tokyo, is starting the training course for new starters at 19:00-21:00 eight times in total from April to June, 2009.

The goal of each workshop led by the JTD members:

The student learns the basic knowledge concerning the JTD such as the origin of the theatrical company, etc. He introduces himself and learns how to express the body movement.

2nd time:
The student understands the background, the place and characters, and how the story is made, etc. by using the scenario. He learns not only the lines but also the expression from the inner feeling.

The student learns the body expression and acting while translating from the lines.

The student experiences the world of signed traditional play with the use of a pair of tabi, Japanese ancient socks.

The students learns the foundation of the body-making. Not "beauty" of a stage alone but "beauty" of daily life is pursued.

Based on a different scenario respectively, the team of a few students work together on directing and acting, and present their final work.

The student learns how to express various images requested in the stage through the body movement.

And the final:
The student learns sign mime.

Deaf woman hit by local train to death in Hiroshima

Reiko Iwakawa (36), a welfare facilities worker, had been crossing the railroad gate by bicycle in Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Prefecture in the evening on April 19, 2009. The gate was neither equipped with an alarm nor the crossing barrier.

She was not aware the three-car local train for Fukuyama from Fuchu with 70 passengers approaching and was hit to death around 6:35 pm.

According to the investigation by the Hiroshima Prefectural Police, Iwakawa had a trouble in hearing though the train whistled for warning a few times and was put on the breaks.

This accident affected about 900 people and also five trains in total were suspended according to the Japanese Railroad West Okayama branch office.

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Deafened man wins lawsuit case to receive special injury and disease benefit

A Tokyo resident (58) who said he had lost hearing during school days sued against the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Labor, claiming that it would be illegal that it has not granted him with the special injury and disease benefit.

On April 17 at the Tokyo Local Court, the presiding judge accepted the claim, explaining, "The person in question of having found deafness since the school days was able to be trusted to insist though the clinical record did not remain". He canceled the decision of the ministry not to grant the deaf man with the benefit.

The special injury and disease benefit system started in April, 2005 to provide about 50,000 yen in the highest monthly sum for the person who became disabled later during college days and has failed to receive disability basic pension because the national pension system was arbitrary then.

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Osaka City demanded with 2700 signatures for better interpreting in hospital

A group of deaf people met with the Osaka City officials with the signature of about 2700 and demanded for the support by better interpreting at the Osaka Municipal General Hospital.

It was because Toshiko Nakawaki (51), a professional nurse, who has kept supporting the Deaf patients with interpreting for 33 years, has retired at the end of March, 2009. She was the only nurse who acted as an interpreter.

Nakawaki had learned sign language at the nurse training school, before she was hired at a hospital at the age of 20 and interpreted for Deaf patients consulting a physician at any time.

Though she quit taking the opportunity of the marriage, she later found employment in the General Hospital in 2001. She supported Deaf patients by interpreting at every scene such as the reception, examinations, operations and the delivery of the medicine. She also helped the Deaf patients about payment and gave information on the treatment department.

Because of the interpreting service at the hospital, the number of the Deaf consumers/patients increased rapidly to about 1400 in 2007 from about 580 in 2002. So, Nakawaki felt her work load too heavy to control, and requested the employer to increase the staff members and improve the work environment. Her request was declined and then she retired.

According to the investigation of the "Deaf Medical Network" consisted of medical professionals involved in Deaf medical issues, there are only about 20 hospitals where the interpreter is arranged; Osaka including the General Hospital, Kyoto, Hokkaido, and Fukuoka, etc. as of 2006. It would be several when it comes to the interpreter with the nursing license.

Taeko Iida (33), a Deaf woman, learned from others about Nakwaki's retirement and began the signature campaign with her friends on the Internet, etc. on March 9, 2009.

Iida said, "When my twin sister was giving birth in May, 2008, Nakawaki so accurately interpreted for her that alleviated anxiety".

A female nurse in the same hospital took as the successor on April 13, and her one-year experience with sign language seems too shallow to Iida. She appeals that the support from a veteran nurse would be indispensable.

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School that educates Deaf children calls for more donations to set up junior high school

Fundraising on the street

The Meisei School, a kind of charter school for the Deaf located in Shinagawa Ward, Tokyo, is making efforts to fundraising to set up the junior high school that educate Deaf children in Japanese Sign Language.

The donations of about 20 million yen equivalent to 2/3 of the target capital have already gathered by the parents and guardians' calling.

The deadline of the application for the junior high school establishment to get registered by the Tokyo government is June, 2009.

The school officials and concerned parties say that they are trying to collect 10 million yen that remains by all means by the deadline.

The mother of a Deaf boy says, "My son understands most easily in JSL that is his first language". The boy would be in the first year at the junior high school in spring next year if granted. He is worried saying, "Study becomes difficult in the junior high school, too. I feel it difficult to learn the words that are not JSL".

The capital to establish the junior high school is worth 30 million yen. It was found out last December that the sum of about 20 million yen gathered through the campaign was not enough.

The time left for the application deadline is about two months. A desperate calling continues.

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Deaf interpreter training program starts in May, 2009

The Tokyo Federation of the Deaf (TFD) has offered Deaf persons who wished to become an interpreter the training course since 2005. Some of them who completed it stood interpreting in the stage during the ceremony of the Tokyo Conference.

The trained Deaf interpreters have been involved in the interpreting services for the DeafBlind and for the Deaf foreigners beside the ceremony of the local conference. Yet there are needs for story telling in sign language, the teamwork with the hearing interpreters and the like.

The preparatory committee on the Deaf interpreter team was set up in 2008 aiming at making the team formal after 2009.

The TFD Sign Language Project Committee and the preparatory committee will hold the training program and workshop for the Deaf interpreters again. It will start in May, 2009 and continue on the weekends for about a year.

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Deaf person experiences mock trial as lay judge in Kagawa Prefecture

The new system of lay judges will start in May, 2009.

The mock trial was held in the Matsuyama District Court in Kagawa Prefecture, southern part of Japan, where a Deaf person served as the lay judge.

There were ideas that helped the Deaf person to easily understand what was going on at the court, such as three interpreters worked effectively in detail in the court.

A case was set up for the mock trial. The defendant who set fire to his own room to dispel resentment because he was requested by the apartment house owner to get out of the room, being accused of arson of inhabited structures.

The interpreters sat near the testimony stand so that the Deaf lay judge not only was able to see the interpreting but also observed all witness and defendant's expressions easily from the seat.

The Deaf lay judge was gazing into the trial while greatly nodding. The prosecutor read aloud slowly along with the pace of interpreting, sometimes displaying the written sentences or words in the monitor through the computer.

After the mock trial, the Deaf man said, "It was possible to participate in the discussion thanks to prior meeting though a lot of the technical terms used during the trial were unfamiliar to me".

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Suit filed by Deaf clerk for compensatory damages against Bank reaches agreement

A Deaf clerk (40), an Osaka City resident who has worked for the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, filed a suit for compensation for the damages of about seven million yen against the bank, citing that it overlooked her needs in the workplace and chance for the promotion.

As reported, this lawsuit reached a reconciliation in the Osaka District Court that both the parties agreed contingent on the bank's part on March 23, 2009.

Among the conditions are:
(1) the employer keeps communication with the Deaf woman daily and gives her directions or advice in order for her to secure the chance of an equal promotion,

(2) the employer transfers her to the friendly work environment,

(3) the employer tries its best to provide information necessary for the conference and training with the document prepared,

(4) the employer pays the Deaf woman 1.2 million yen, the money for the settlement, etc.

The born-Deaf woman whose name was withheld was hired by the bank in 1991, has been working responsible for business funding and for the loan service respectively.

She said that she has requested for interpreting or note-taking which was denied, and that her chances for training and the in-house examination has been deprived. So she brought up a case in 2005.

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ICT experiment on real-time captioning system for the Deaf via cellular phone starts in April

Tsukuba University of Technology, Softbank Mobile, and a non-profit organization called the Nagano Summarized Center, and Gunma University began the initial experiment of the "Mobile Remote Communication System" intended for the Deaf on April 6, 2009.

The system helps Deaf students who attend the class where a hearing teacher lectures with the real-time captioning service by using cellular phone from remoteness. In the past the note takers had to sit with the Deaf consumer.

The experiment period of the system is expected to continue until the end of March in 2010 in the Softbank Mobile headquarters, Tsukuba University of Technology, Gunma University and elementary schools in the Nagano prefecture. The groups concerned are aiming at the practical use of "iPhone 3G".

Source in Japanese:,2000056025,20391151,00.htm

Deaf survivor tells experience in WWII, giving up to become soldier

Recently, an exhibit on "The WWII and Home Front" that showed the hard living during the WWII era was opened in Kyoto City. The event aimed to let the next generation aware of how the Japanese people survived the hardships due to the war.

Iwao Mihara (78), a Kyoto resident, told about his own war experience. He was born Deaf in Osaka City, next to Kyoto. As a boy he yearned to be a sailor and was excited to read the articles on the activity of the Japanese army in the newspaper. He believed that he could become a soldier and fight for the nation, too .

However, when he was taken to the public office by his father in February, 1945, he gave up the dream of becoming a soldier because he learned that he was not possible to communicate with other people. He says, "It was not easy for me to give up what I had hoped".

His mind changed when he saw Osaka in full of flames with the shells that the U.S bomber B29 dropped on March 13, 1945. Mihara hid himself in the air defense trench and survived.

When the morning dawned and he walked out in the town, he saw uncounted deaths; the woman with her child burnt to death, the old woman in the bathroom sitting burnt dead, etc. "The war should not happen again. I do not want to be a soldier".

After the end of the WW II, Mihara spent the full life; he enjoyed his work, learned sign language, knew the joy of communication, etc.

However, he never has forgotten the terrible spectacle immediately after the air raid in Osaka. When he reached at the age of 60, he started to draw the spectacle that remained in his memory, and added comments on the situation and his thought at that time. About 50 drawings were displayed in the hall.

Mihara said, "The terrible spectacle was finally wiped out of my mind by drawing the pictures. I think I have come to feel comfortable. I want to tell my wartime experience in the future".

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