Imperial members encourage the disaster victims at shelters in Gunma Prefecture

Prince Akishinonomiya (right standing) and his wife Princess Kiko (left standing) spoke to the disaster victims in Gunma Prefecture.

April 25, 2011

Crown Prince's younger brother, Prince Akishinonomiya, and his wife Princess Kiko visited the shelters in the Gunma Prefecture where about 290 victims in the total are living on April 25.

They are taking shelter from South Soma City and Namie-cho in Fukushima Prefecture due to the accident of the nuclear power plant in the prefecture.

The imperial couple joined the recreation activity with the victims, and spoke to each of them one by one, saying "We hope the nuclear power plant crisis will be settled down as soon as possible so that you can go home," etc.

Afterwards, Princess Kiko, who knows sign language, met the beautician who has a difficulty in speech from the anxiety of the earthquake, and encouraged her in sign language. The beautician stated her impressions to reporters in writing, "I was impressed very much to meet her".

CART service arranged at the trial of the Yokohama district court in Kanagawa Prefecture

April 20, 2011

In the Kanagawa prefecture, there was the first public trial that tried the defendant of the murder case by the lay judge trial in the Yokohama District Court on April 19.

The CART was arranged for the first time as one of the elected lay judges and reserve lay judges was hard of hearing.

The Court has asked the lay judge candidates about the support needed before the procedure; note-taking, CART, sign language, the braille, etc.

In May, 2010, the Nara district court that had tried rape case arranged the CART service upon the request from the hard of hearing reserve lay judge.

On the other hand, there was a trouble of not having arranged the interpreting service in the Kochi district court for the Deaf candidate who had requested for it.

Government official mentions first on sign language as a language at press conference

Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano Yukio mentions on sign language.

April 22, 2011

Chief Cabinet Secretary EDANO Yukio explained about the sign language as follows at the regular press conference.

"There is a bill that revised a part of the Persons with Disabilities Fundamental Law among the bills that the Cabinet Council confirmed today.

We hear some opinions from the parties concerned on promotion of the persons with disabilities measure, too.

As you see the sign language interpreter is standing by me here for the first time to show the legislation of our country respects especially at this time.

It was possible to legally emphasize that the sign language is defined as a language.

We believe it would be a big step forward."

Press conference online (English):

Silent magic show to be held in Tokyo in June

The Silent magic show to fund raise for the stricken area will be held in Tokyo on June 26, Sunday, 13:30-15:00, 2011.

Admission fee
Ticket sold in advance: 1,000 yen
(Ticket on the day: 1,500 yen)

The first Silent Magic Show was held by the Saitama Art Theatrical Company in Saitama Prefecture in 2009, which three Deaf Russian magicians performed.

It was so popular that the second show will take place in Tokyo which Deaf Japanese magicians across Japan will perform.

NOBU (23), Deaf from Saitama Prefecture. He won the first prize at the World Deaf Magicians Festival held in Italy in 2010.

Mr. Kawazu, Deaf from Osaka Prefecture. He was awarded the fifth prize at the World Deaf Magicians Festival held in Moscow in 2002.

MA-SA- YA (17), hearing young magician from Tokyo

Magic Toshima, Deaf from Tokyo. He won the second place at the World Deaf Magicians Festival held in New York in 1996.

TASHIRO Shigeru, hearing from Saitama Prefecture. President of the Japan Close-up Magicians' Association (JCMA)

JFD: Guideline of special support for deaf people in shelters

March 16, 2011
What kind of difficulties do deaf people have?

They have information and to communication barriers.
You may not be aware of deaf people at first sight. They have difficulties to get information and to communicate with people, such as to receive important news or to tell their needs in their ordinary daily life. Thus they are left behind from the emergency announcement because of deafness.
For example, they cannot receive food and water because they cannot hear the voice of people providing food and water so do not know that they are being handed out. What makes it worse is that many people can hardly recognize that there are deaf people in their area. And then they cannot get necessary information or cannot communicate very well and they will be isolated.
They have variety of communication methods such as sign language, writing and slowly speaking, depending on each individual.

How to deal with it?
Please put up placards like “Deaf” or “Sign language” at the reception or the head office of shelters. Also you may walk around with the placards to make sure if there are deaf people around the area.
  • If there are deaf people:
    • If you find deaf people, please contact the disaster prevention office, the deaf association and the information center for the deaf in each prefecture, and also the government welfare office.
    • Please ask deaf people what communication means they prefer, such as talking in a loud voice, sign language or writing.
    • Please tell the person in charge and neighbors about the deaf people and let them support the deaf people by writing right away informing the distribution of food and water and so on.
    • Deaf people may put scarf or ribbon as a marking to be recognized that they are deaf, but in this case their agreement is essential. The deaf should not be forced to wear scarfs or ribbons and will only wear them if they feel comfortable in doing so.
    • Lip reading is not enough to communicate correctly. Please try to communicate by writing or using cell phone email screen. You cannot sign or write in the dark when the power goes down, therefore please keep flashlight always nearby.
  • TV installation
    • In shelters they often send information about earthquake by TV or radio, but deaf people cannot understand it at all without sign language interpreter or captions. CS Organization of Broadcasting for People with Disability provides “Medekiku Terebi” with sign language and captions for deaf people. Please put “EYE Dragon III” data receiving device for deaf people (CS data receiver), in shelters. Please inquire the details of EYE Dragon III from the customer center.(
  • In an evacuated area, please locate deaf people in the neighbor beforehand and when you hear the call for evacuation in emergency broadcast system, please inform them immediately.

JFD: Regarding Communication with the Affected Area

March 16, 2011

JFD would like to request following things regarding communication with the affected area.

JFD has been receiving inquiries to confirm the safety of individuals in the damaged area. JFD will upload information only when that is confirmed by the Deaf associations in the area. Please refrain from making individual inquiries to those associations.

JFD has been also receiving inquires on relief teams. Please note that the most important activity now is life-saving and the situation does not allow us to go to the affected area immediately. Please do not go to the affected area by yourself. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare advises us not to go there because people there are not ready to accept volunteers yet. Some local governments are ready to dispatch relief teams but it takes time to make arrangements.

Please tell any concerned person not to contact associations of damaged area about donations and volunteers directly. JFD is responsible to arrange these activities. Please wait until further notice.

Interpreters be dispatched to the affected area at public expense

Yamanaka Mutsuko, president of Kochi Prefecture Association of the Dea, speaks, "If the interpreter can be sent for the Deaf people in Tohoku, we want to do it."

April 19, 2011

The insufficiency of caring for vulnerable people stands out in relief.

Each prefecture in the earthquake-affected area calls for dispatching the interpreter across the country for the Deaf victims in the shelters.

It means each prefecture government nationwide is to bear traveling expenses, etc. of the interpreter at public expense.

In Kochi Prefecture, the environment to send off the interpreter is not in order. It is not possible to go even if any interpreter wants to.

The concerned groups in the prefecture are requesting the guarantee of status, etc. of the interpreter from the Kochi Prefecture government again.

Documentary film on the Deaf people earthquake victims to be shown in Nagoya City in May


The documentary film on the Deaf people in Miyagi Prefecture where the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit will be shown on May 5 (national holiday), 14:00-16:00 in Nagoya City, Aichi Prefecture as a charity event for funding raising.

The 28-minute film, titled "A Bridge: The Current State of The Deaf Victims in Miyagi Prefecture Hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake," which a film maker IMAMURA Ayako visited the prefecture, interviewed the victims and their supporters and recorded by filming.

Film preview link:

She will speak how she felt, what she thought through her coverage, after the screening as a part of the program.

Pre-registration requested.

The admission fee of 1,000 yen and more will be donated to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf's Relief Fund.

Popular singer holds her book sale event in Tokyo for fund raising

Imai Eriko, a hearing singer, shows her new photo essay.


IMAI Eriko (27), a member of the four girl singers group "SPEED", held the book sale event in Tokyo on April 17.

She published a book titled "The Parent-Child Theater." The book is about the daily life with her Deaf son Reimu (6), including an episode on his first love.

He is enrolled in the school for the deaf in Tokyo in April. Imai says, "When I see that he is happily studying, I feel relieved. I hope he will grow up quickly and healthily."

The fund-raising box is put on the hall to help the Deaf community who were struck as part of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf disaster relief fund.

Documentary film on Deaf women soccer players to be shown in May

Director Nakamura Kazuhiko talks about his movie "Eye Contact."

April 13, 2011

The documentary movie, "Eye Contact," related to the national Deaf women soccer teammates that Director NAKAMURA Kazuhiko (50) produced will be shown at two cities in Fukuoka Prefecture for a few days in May.

Nakamura learned sign language, participated in the practice with the teammates, spent two and a half years for filming. He said, "I wanted to tell about the truth of the Deaf community. I want the spectators to feel the way of life of the Deaf women who grow up through soccer."

The 88-minute movie follows after the high school students and housewives who played soccer and competed at the 21st Summer Deaflympic Games opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 2009.

Twenty-five players' upbringings, the scene of the special support school and the office where they belong to, and the testimonies of their family and the colleagues are collected.

This movie also tells the levels of deafness and sign language skill varies, introducing the current state of the deaf education.

Movie preview in Japanese:

Messages from around the world for the Deaf victims

Groups and individuals around the world sent their heartfelt message for the Deaf victims hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Thank for your support!!

Website on the nuclear power station in Fukushima

Tokyo Electric Power Company's official website (English) shows how severe the situation of the nuclear power station in Fukushima Prefecture is.

Company officials presented their plan to resolve the nuclear power problem at the press conference in the afternoon on April 17. The plan may be concluded within about nine months depending on the workplace and schedule.

JFD video releases on Deaf Disaster Relief (International Sign)

JFD has released a series of videos on the Deaf Relief Activities in International Sign.

Report Meeting about the Current Situation of the Disaster area (10:49)

Launch of Iwate Regional Headquarters of Disaster Relief for Deaf People (2:54)

Report on Miyagi Prefecture (5:46)

Don't give up! Hang in there! We are all in one for Tohoku! (1:26)

WiMAX equipped notebook PCs and mobile routers donated for disaster relief (3:59)

Local Deaf organizations form relief HQ to support the Deaf victims in Iwate Prefecture

April 13, 2011

Eight groups in the Iwate prefecture such as the Iwate Prefecture Association of the Deaf, etc. formed the "Great East Japan Earthquake Deaf Relief HQ" recently and started caring for the mental health of the Deaf victims in the stricken area.

Members of the Relief HQ visit the stricken area, offer the relief goods including hearing aid, and learning what problems the Deaf victim have faced, as their fellows.

The HQ was set up in the Prefecture Information Services Center for the Deaf in Morioka City, Iwate Prefecture on April 3, composing of the Deafblind society and the Prefecture Society of the Hard of Hearing and Deafened, etc. besides the Deaf Association. They undertake the support activities for the concerned victims and exchange the information collected from their activities.

Chairman Sachiko Takahashi of the prefecture Association of the Deaf who serves as the representative of the HQ, and members, divided into five groups, have visited the stricken area with relief goods on March 27. They have found that some of the Deaf victims were under the stress because the TV programs were not captioned.

There was a Deaf person in a certain refuge was so panic that it was not possible to control her emotion even if the prefecture staff tried to communicate in writing. A Deaf relief staff came to the Deaf person and talked with her. She at last became relaxed and even showed a smile.

Chairman Takahashi says, "For the Deaf victim, a Deaf advocate is the best choice as they share the same cultural standpoint. We will continue to visit around the refuges as many times as possible and advance the support activities for them".

Videos on mental health care for the Deaf explained in sign language


There are a lot of Deaf/deaf/hard of hearing people not only in the earthquake-hit cities but also other cities whose mental condition is apparently troubled because of the Great East Japan Earthquake that occurred at 14:46 on March 11, 2011.

Several sign language (JSL) videos entitled "Mental health care for the Deaf at the disaster" were made. Each video is about 1-3 minute.

Deaf members of the psychology clinical society are explaining a basic mental health care in the sign language.

No Japanese caption.

Fire fighting headquarters makes conversation card for emergency


April 5, 2011

The Koyama City Fire Fighting Headquarters in Tochigi Prefecture made the "conversation card" for smooth communication with the Deaf person or the foreigner in the emergency transportation.

Four languages (Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese) are described on the A4-size card, on which the patient points the symptom and parts such as "the pain is here", "there is an unpleasantness in the part".

A space on the reverse is put down the address, the name, the medicine, and the name of the primary care physician, etc. by the patient when possible.

The Koyama fire station says that there was no big problem though the interpreter had been sent to the emergency site and the hospital up to now for the Deaf. They aim at taking prompter action regarding the selection of the medical institution, etc. with the use of the card in the future.

There is no case yet used though the card has been loaded into each vehicle of the emergency and fire fighting since March.

Rochester School for the Deaf to Zumba for Japan survivors

The TMCSD visited RSD in January, and in February, students from Rochester School for the Deaf traveled to Tokyo. The massive earthquake and tsunami struck March 11, twelve days after the group from Rochester returned to Japan.

Hearing aid makers support the hard of hearing in the earthquake-hit area


The hearing aid manufacturers, etc. are advancing support for the people who are deaf or hard of hearing who were stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake. However, concerned people are needed to support the makers' effort to send goods to the person in question.

The Japanese Cochlea located in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo is sending a special battery and parts to hospitals in the stricken area. However, the confirmation whether reaching the user himself appears to be difficult. The special battery is good for average three days.

There are about 600 cochlea-implanted persons in the Tohoku region, half of whom is congenital hard hearing. It is said that there are more children.

The company says, "Many of the cochlea-implanted children are not possible to sign and have a difficulty in communication. You may doubt the battery expired in the cochlea when the child appears to behave strangely".

Moreover, 14 member manufacturer companies of the Japanese Hearing Aid Industry Association are offering the victims the replacement of the hearing aid and the battery free.

Sign language net media on disaster-related information


Victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake including persons with disabilities also are vulnerable in getting information necessary for the emergency.

Media such as twitter, video, etc. on the Internet positively are used to support Deaf people who tend to be isolated as sign language is not commonly used in the greater part of refuges.

After the earthquake, a Deaf man EZOE Satoshi (24) was requested by the Deaf victims in the refuges to provide them with the vital information such as evacuation, food rations, radioactive terms, etc.

To answer the requests, he recruited the cooperators on the net. About 30 people volunteered and checked the question one by one, and made a video to answer in the sign language.

The video was contributed by the "DNN (Deaf News Network:" through "YouTube" site one by one. About 350 videos in total from March 14 through early April were introduced. The number of viewers including from the cellular phones users has gone up to 136,000. The survivors have appreciated the support.

Ezoe says, "The first language of Deaf people is sign language, and they don't fully understand what the caption says on the TV. I have realized how much they are hungry for information in the earthquake-hit area".

"Disabled Japanese struggle in disaster aftermath"

An English article on persons with disabilities in the stricken area


H3′s Donation Drive for Deaf Japanese (video in International Sign)

Host: Dawn Jani Birley
Editor: Darren Frazier – until April 11th, 2011 at 6:00 pm (EST) – (18:00).

For further donations to Japan Federation of the Deaf after April 11th, go to this website:

As of 6:55 pm, April 8, 2011 – A snapshot of the latest update $ from PayPal is: $4,553.43 CAD ≈ 393,853 Japanese Yen

JFD: The Great East Japan Earthquake (video 2)

MIYAMOTO Ichiro, JFD board member and Director of the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat in Asia/Pacific (WFD RSA/P), explains the damage situation of deaf people suffered from the Earthquake and transportation of the relief supplies for Tohoku Region.

Earthquake damage situation and report on transporting relief supplies (International Sign) (10:44)

JFD: The Great East Japan Earthquake (video 1)

MIYAMOTO Ichiro, JFD board member and Director of the World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat in Asia/Pacific (WFD RSA/P), reports on the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake, and relief goods collected for deaf victims.

The Great East Japan Earthquake (International Sign) (8:07)

"Writing hostess" to cooperate in iPhone application development

SAOTOME Yuka, a deaf hostess who communicates by writing and finger spelling.

March 31, 2011

SAOTOME Yuka (24) has a few hats to wear; the mother of a one-year-old boy, a student in correspondence course at Japan Women's University, and a hostess of the high-level club of Ginza,
Tokyo for more than a year.

She who lost hearing uses two ways for the conversation with the person, "writing" and "finger spelling".

It was reported on March 31 that she would cooperate in the development of the iPhone application. The content is related to finger spelling, one of the conversation means Yuka uses.

There is a reality that hearing people are aware of sign language more than the finger spelling.

Yuka says, "The more finger spelling spreads, the shorter even a little the distance between the hearing and the deaf persons is".

Note-taking group in Yamaguchi Prefecture to hold a free workshop

Members input character to computer while hearing the spoken language. The input character is projected onto the screen in the back.

March 29, 2011

An incorporated nonprofit organization, "The Note Taking Shimonoseki" in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi prefecture will hold a free workshop for note-takers on on April 17.

President NAKANO Mitsuko (67) says, "Many people believe that the deaf use sign language, but actually there are not many who use sign language. A lot of them have a hard time in communications. Please come to the workshop and experience by all means".

The spoken language of a hearing person is written down on paper, or input in the computer which is shown on the screen. Nakano speaks, "The repetition of the word is omitted as much as possible, but not missing the point of what is said".

"The Note Taking Shimonoseki" was formed in 1992, and became an incorporated non-profit organization (NPO) in August, 2007. 39 of the 20-70's members such as a company employee, housewife, etc. who were trained as a note-taker through the course are registered as an interpreter. The members hold a workshop twice a week to practice note-taking skills.

Shimonoseki City entrusted the note-taking service for the deaf residents free of charge to NPO. 415 note-takers were available to 138 deaf persons in total last year for hospital, PTA meeting, lecture meeting, musical, and the movie.

The upcoming workshop aims at providing understanding of the nature of note taking and recruiting more prospective volunteers. Nakano says, "If a person nearby can write down what is said even if you become older and hard to hear, it helps you to communicate at ease".

The regular training course is scheduled for May 15, 2011 through January 29, 2012.

JFD top's message on the Great East Japan Earthquake (International Sign)

Fujisaburo ISHINO, President of the Japanese Federation of the Deaf gives a message on the Great East Japan Earthquake, the tsunami, etc. in International Sign (4:52).

Interpreters in Hokkaido to be sent to Miyagi Prefecture

NAKAMURA Hideko is ready to help the Deaf victims in Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture.


Hokkaido, the northern island of Japan, will start to send the sign language interpreters to Tagajo City, Miyagi Prefecture stricken by the Great East Japan Earthquake, on April 5. The interpreter will help the Deaf victim in application procedure to move in the temporary shelter, etc.

Upon on the request of Tagajo City and with cooperation from municipalities in Hokkaido and the Hokkaido Federation of the Deaf located in Sapporo, a sign language interpreter will be sent for one week alternatively until the end of May, .

The interpreter will help the Deaf victim to do something important at the Tagajo City Hall, and go round the refuge to find out what the Deaf need. The dispatch to the stricken area outside the prefecture is first since the Great Hanshin Earthquake in 1995.

Part-time staff NAKAMURA Hideko (58), a skilled interpreter of about 30 years, will work on April 5-11. She was sent to the refuge in the Date City in Hokkaido in 2000 immediately after the eruption of Mount Usu. She speaks, "I would like to convey the victim's uneasiness and demand carefully with my heart for assistance".

Situation of Interpreting service provided in stricken area

April 4, 2011

The number of the Deaf people carrying the physical disability certificate is about 19,000 in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima Prefectures in total according to the prefectures.

As of April 3, 31 Deaf persons are living in at least 19 refuges in Miyagi prefecture according to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, etc. Many of about 60 interpreters are also struck in the prefecture and only about five interpreters are working.

Based on such a situation, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has requested each administrative division to dispatch the interpreters. Iwate Prefecture Disability Welfare Section will send the volunteers on April 11, saying "We will adjust it so that the interpreters are placed in a place to meet the needs of the Deaf".

JFD's East Japan Deaf Relief HQ has sent four interpreters to Miyagi Prefecture in the end of March. It is also requesting the administration to install the TV equipment by which watching sign language and the caption becomes possible for the Deaf in the refuge.

The Deaf married couple from Miyagi prefecture say that their arm were pulled suddenly by their neighbor after the earthquake occurred. When they all reached to the top of the hill and turned around, they only learned that the tsunami surged up.

It has been pointed out that Deaf persons knew about the tsunami considerably afterwards. There might have been Deaf persons who had been rolled by the tsunami without noticing it, too.

Government concerned requests the sign language interpreters dispatch to the stricken area

March 30, 2011

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare sent the official letter to the Health Social Affairs Division of each local governments, administrative divisions of the cities, etc. in the stricken area on March 30, requesting to provide the interpreting service, etc. to secure the accessibility to effective communications for the Deaf and hard of hearing in the refuge, etc.

JFD: Donations through bank transfer


We are now accepting donations by bank transfer. Our bank information is listed below. The fund raised will be used for purposes such as supporting deaf people who have suffered from the Earthquake and Tsunami, and volunteers including sign language interpreters.
As a bank transfer fee will be charged for each transfer, we recommend gathering donations and transferring them together as one.
Thank you for your support.
Bank Name: Mizuho Bank
Branch Name: Edogawabashi Branch
Account Number: Ordinary Account #1511276
Account Name: Zaidan Houjin Zennihon Roua Renmei Saigai Kyuuen Kikin Daihyo Ishino Fujisaburo
Swift Code: MHBKJPJT

Japanese Federation of the Deaf
SK Bldg. 8F, 130 Yamabuki-cho, Shinjuku-ku,
Tokyo 162-0801, JAPAN
Phone: +81-3-3268-8847 (Japanese speaking only)
Fax: +81-3-3267-3445 (English/Japanese)

JFD: Great East Japan Earthquake information related to the Deaf

Dear All,

First of all, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for showing your heartfelt concerns and condolences in the extremely difficult time.

We, the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, have already launched the “Headquarters for Disaster Relief for deaf people in the Great East Japan Earthquake”. We are doing our utmost to gather information about deaf victims and support of them, and providing it on our main website.

We have created an English page with information on the earthquake, including details on where to send donations:

Earthquake Information in English:

Please accept our apology that information in English is currently very limited. We are working hard to provide more.

We cordially ask you to refrain from directly contacting the disaster-stricken area about donations and volunteering.

Thank you for understanding.

Best regards,
Japanese Federation of the Deaf

Hard of hearing student volunteers to give a foot bath in stricken area

Makino (left) gives a foot bath to the elderly person, saying "I am glad that she looks happy and relaxed" in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture.

March 31, 2011

University student MAKINO Wataru (21) of Machida City, Tokyo, who is hard of hearing since 5 years old, works as a volunteer providing a foot bath in the stricken area, Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.

He is offering warmth to a local elderly person, saying that "I want to give these victims back the kindness of those who have supported me". When the foot was soaked in the bucket of the hot water with bath oil, elderly women felt relaxed at once, "Oh, I am getting warm".

Makino was massaging the arms and hands of the woman who was unable to take a bath after the earthquake, talking to her, "Do you get cold at night?" "Here is a vital point in your hand which you will be able to live long", etc.

He learned The Nippon Foundation (Minato Ward, Tokyo) was recruiting the volunteers of the foot bath at the time of the earthquake, and applied immediately. He left with 20 volunteers by bus on March 28, and started his activity the next day in the gym of a municipal elementary school, etc. which is used as a shelter.

WFD: Japan earthquake and tsunami

March 30, 2011 By Patrick Wiche

It is with great sadness that the WFD* learnt about the earthquake which struck the north-east of Japan on 11 March 2011 causing a tsunami and the tragic loss of life and extensive damages in the region.

WFD has expressed its sorrow and sympathy by sending an email/letter to the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, to the population of Japan as the country deals with the aftermath of the devastating natural disaster and the destruction is has caused.
WFD hopes that the deaf people in Japan receives information and help they need.

*World Federation of the Deaf