Prefecture helps workshops on sign language and note taking

August 23, 2016

Gunma Prefecture next to Tokyo has carried out its Sign Language regulation since April, 2015. To arrange the environment to make accessible with a Deaf/deaf person, the prefecture has begun the project for a workshop on sign language and note taking, respectively in August. The prefecture is the first autonomous body to conduct it.

Many Deaf/deaf persons who have been worried about lack of a sign language interpreter and a note taker in the prefecture welcome the move by the prefecture.

There are about 6,100 Deaf/deaf persons aged 18 and older who carry the disability card current as of March, 2015 in the prefecture. Meanwhile, there are only 104 interpreters, including nationally certified interpreters, and 66 note takers, both registered with the Prefecture. 

The Prefecture Federation of the Deaf says, "Among the interpreters and the note takers registered, about 30 percent are available for the weekday daytime actually."

The target enterprises of the Prefecture support includes an enterprise, a social welfare corporation, a non-profit organization corporation and others.

Japanese source:

Deaf man challenges to get qualified as balloon pilot

August 22, 2016

A Deaf office worker in Karatsu-shi, Saga Prefecture located in Japan's southern island, Miyamoto Yasuhiro, 32, is aiming at a pilot of a balloon. (photo)

He has longed for the balloon which floats on the sky since he had seen when aged about five. Miyamoto was at last admitted to a balloon club two years ago.

The test to get a pilot license is a big checkpoint. The solo flight is not easy for an examinees to communicate with people on the ground through a radio by himself. Miyamoto has continued the unprecedented challenge with persons concerned and others how to use the audio information during the flight.

Even without disability, it takes about three years in acquiring a pilot license. Miyamoto says, "I will accomplish it in three years as much as possible. Even if not in time, I won't give up." His dream has been for 27 years.


Deaf group arrested for taking Deaf friend around by car and attacking

August 22, 2016

Osaka Prefecture Sonezaki Police Office arrested three Deaf men including Hoshitani Mineki, 22, unemployed in Neyagawa-shi, Osaka on August 22. 

The Deaf group took a Deaf friend around by a car in Osaka-shi, assaulted him to make him injured that required two weeks for full recovery, and took money and valuables away in the evening on August 20 until next morning.

The victim and the suspect group met through online gaming on the Internet, and all the members are said to be Deaf.

The injured man, Hoshitani and the others were in trouble concerning loan transaction of money according to the Police Office.

Japanese source:

Deaf group puts online relay service into effect for the first time

August 19, 2016

Gunma Prefecture Federation of the Deaf in Maebashi-shi near Tokyo has begun the relay service business with the use of the Internet for the first time as a prefecture-level group since April. (photo)

A Deaf person communicate in sign language with an interpreter staffed in the Federation office using the video function of the internet. The prefecture office is helping this business based on the Prefecture Sign Language regulation which became effective last year.

Federation officials say, "this new service is quick and efficient compared with a fax and an e-mail." They appeal Deaf persons to use the new service.

Japanese source:

Videophone interpretation system introduced through tablet terminal on highway bus
August 15, 2016

Kokusai Kogyo Co., Ltd. has introduced the videophone interpretation system called "FACE touch me!" which utilizes a tablet terminal for a highway bus which runs between Ikebukuro station (Tokyo) and Gotemba (Shizuoka Prefecture) since August 1. (photo)

The system is available for English, Chinese, Korean and Japanese sign language. Loading an interpretation terminal to a running vehicle is first in the industry according to Kokusai Kogyo.

Japanese source:

National high school summer baseball tournament: former Deaf player deeply impressed

August 12, 2016

At Koshien in Hyogo Prefecture, the National High School Summer Baseball Tournament was held. On August 12, the 6th day of the tournament, Jinseigakuen from Kagawa Prefecture was defeated by Sakushigakuin from Tochigi Prefecture by 0−3.

Nagao Takashi, 54, a former baseball team member of Jinseigakuen, watched a majestic figure of the team from the stands of Koshen. The team played for the first time after nine years.

Nagao, born deaf, was the young baseball player who played actively as a left fielder for this strong contestant school and dreamed of playing at Koshien.

After attending a school for the deaf for one year, he transferred to a local elementary school. He became interested in baseball since a junior high school, and entered Jinseigakuen which accepted a student with hearing impairment. 

Baseball team members in those days were about 100 and it was hard to get the regular position in the team. "Anyway I looked around, and decided to follow a ball faster than everyone." Nagao continued practice and won the position ranked the number two and the left fielder.

His team participated in the Kagawa Prefecture tournament and was ranked in the eight place, so Nagao was unable to realize his dream to play at Koshien. 

After graduating, Nagao continued playing baseball. He was the coach of the Japanese team for the Second International Deaf Baseball Championship which was held in Cuba in 2003. 

Japanese source:

First Deaf certified interpreter in Japan

August 11, 2016

Kawakami Megumi, 40, who works for Okinawa Information Center located in southern Japan, is playing an active part as the "Deaf certified interpreter" (CDI) who underwent professional discipline. 

In 2014, she acquired qualification from the Registry of Interpreters of the Deaf (RID) located in the U.S.A. as the first Japanese DCI. She is the only DCI in Japan, too.

Kawakami experienced interpreting in the USA, and also stood on the platform as an interpreter at the World Sign Language Interpreting Congress held in Turkey in July, 2015.

Kawakami, who from a Deaf family, uses sign language as her first language. She attended a hearing school from elementary through high school. She majored in English at a university and after graduating, worked for a bank for eight years. Later she with a scholarship entered Gallaudet University, majoring in Deaf Studies and interpreting and obtaining a B.A. 

She experienced as a Deaf interpreter in academic meetings at  many sites in USA for about one year after getting an M.A., which leading to get qualified as a DCI.

Kawakami believes both of the hearing interpreter and the Deaf interpreter trained are needed to protect human rights of the Deaf person.

Japanese source:

Deaf Education Forum discusses education environment after sign language regulation establishment
August 8, 2016

"The 28th National Forum on Deaf Education" was held on August 6-7 at Tottori-shi, Tottori Prefecture in western Japan,  sponsored by the National Council on Education for the Deaf, 

The meeting was participated by 284 people rom across Japan, including Deaf/deaf persons, teachers, researchers, parents, and others. They discussed substantiality of the educational environment after Sign Language regulation establishment based on the plenary lecture and subcommittee meetings. (photo)

The Forum has been carried out every year, and the meeting place this year was Tottori Prefecture which established the sign language regulation for the first time nationwide. The  subcommittee meetings focused on the field of education in the prefecture, early education, parents support, and sign language and Japanese, etc. as a theme.

Japanese source:

Aichi Governor to introduce linguistic regulation to assembly including use of sign language, braille

August 8, 2016

Aichi Prefecture Governor Omura Hidenori has decided to propose a "language regulation bill" to the prefecture assembly regular meeting in September. The bill is to promote the use of various communication tools according to special needs of the person with disabilities such as braille, note taking beside sign language.

It is the first time for establishment of the linguistic regulation into which a target is expanded widely besides the sign language at level of prefectures, towns and villages.

The accurate dissemination of information to a person with disabilities is made by the time of a large-scale disaster such as Nankai-trough disastrous earthquakes, which is a problem for the governor. The bill proposal was based on an opinion from groups of persons with disabilities, after Governor judged that correspondence according to the respective special disabilities was necessary.

Eight prefectures including Tottori, Mie and Nagano, have established a Sign Language regulation since 2013. Governor Omura participated in July this year in the "meeting of the governors to spread sign language." Three cities such as Akashi-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, have a linguistic regulation including  note taking, braille and other.

Japanese source:

On teachers at special support schools who possess license in fiscal year 2015

August 5, 2016
An investigation of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology showed on August 5 that 74.3% of the teachers at special support schools including national, public, and private schools in Japan, have acquired a teaching license according to kinds of disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, physical impairments in fiscal year 2015.

The number of teachers of a special support schools as of May, 2015 is about 65,000. Out of them the teachers who work with a teaching license for children and students with impairments were total of about 48,000 (74.3%).

The Ministry assumes it is a cause that there are few universities which offers a license to teach those children with hearing or visual impairment.

Japanese source:

English article: Local govts bringing deaf, hearing closer

August 05, 2016


Municipalities across Japan are working to spur greater use of sign language by passing ordinances to make it an official language, a boon for the Deaf.

One such place is Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture, which passed a local government regulation over a year ago. I walked along the streets with a Deaf person, wondering if perceptions had changed since then.

Read more:

Full-time interpreter hired by town in Hokkaido

August 3, 2016

The Shintoku-cho Health Welfare Department in Hokkaido, Japan's northern island, hired Zei Satoko, 46, a certified interpreter, as a sign language promoter for the spread of sign language on August 1. (photo)

Zei is planning to serve as a lecturer in the townsman lectures while taking charge of interpreting in the public office desk and an event. She is a first full-time interpreter at the town and villages. Also she will visit a Deaf person at home and also investigates needs for future community services in the tenure of office at most 3 years.

In 2014, the town has established a regulation about sign language. About 200 Deaf reside.

Japanese source:

"Deaf memory of atom bombing recorded by TV"

August 3, 2016

NHK Nagasaki Broadcasting Company and four private broadcasting groups in Nagasaki held jointly the event titled "Memory of Atom Bombing Record by TV" at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum at Nagasaki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture for a week since August 1.

NHK produced a film titled "Documentary '90 I Didn't Hear The Atom Bomb," which ran after about 150 Deaf persons who were in the city at the time of atomic bombing.

The group of sign language interpreters in Nagasaki conducted the actual condition survey of "the Deaf atomic bombing survivors." It was found the existence of 54 Deaf persons, out of whom it was confirmed seven never got the A-bomb victim proof note. Some of the Deaf victims say that they didn't even know the fact that they were bombed for 45 years, too. The film raises an issue, "Why was it such thing?"

Japanese source:

TV program on paralympics program for Deaf audience scheduled

Miyake Ken, a member of the idol group "V6" assumes as the main personality for the NHK E-tele information program titled "Let's Cheer Up! Rio Paralympics," which will be aired on September 9-20  20:00-20:45.

Three Deaf persons including Hayase Kentaro will also appear as a sign language caster in the program. (photo)

Highlights of Rio de Janeiro Paralympics Game will be broadcast by relay recording in the said program. The game contents will be inserted subtitles. Rules and a highlight down will be explained to a Deaf audience in sign language.

Japanese source:

Hearing children learn about welfare at volunteer school

August 1, 2016

There was an event held at a "volunteer school for schoolchildren" in the Area Welfare Support Center located at Annaka-shi, Gunma Prefecture near Tokyo. 

Total of 12 elementary children (4th~6th graders) learned about a senior citizen and disability welfare, visited facilities and learned importance of the welfare volunteer.

The event aims to deepen the understanding to welfare and volunteer activities through experience, which is hold by the City Social Welfare Council and others for two days during the summer holidays every year.

The group of children who learned sign language showed their interest, saying, "I'd like to learn more." (photo)

Japanese source:

English article: Relay services give hearing-impaired taste of telephone


Using smartphones or computers, a Deaf person accesses sign-language interpreters via video-enabled internet phone or messaging platforms, such as Skype and Line. 

The interpreters then contact the intended parties, telling them they are calling on behalf of a Deaf person.

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People with differences in disabilities reach Mt. Fuji summit

August 1, 2016

A plan aiming at reaching the summit of Mt. Fuji through cooperation called "Diversity Mt. Fuji Climbing 2016" over a presence of a disability, was held on July 30-31. 

Total of 45 people with visual or hearing impairment climbed from the Subashiri-guchi Fifth Point and succeeded in reaching the summit of Mr. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan and were bathed in sunrise. (photo)

A 28-year-old Deaf man was delighted when first reaching the Mt. Fuji. He said, "Reaching the summit was very difficult,  but they supported me through providing information in sign language, and so on, which I greatly appreciated." 

Entrepreneurs in Tokyo formed a group, called The NonProfitOrganization "TEAM Challenge," for the purpose which accepts diversity and offers the actual experience that  the participants cooperate one another. This event took place the sixth year. 

Japanese source:

Reactions to news on restaurant that apologized for rejecting Deaf person's reservation

August 1, 2016

It was reported recently about a restaurant in Amagasaki-shi that declined a Deaf person's request for reservation because of deafness, which led a Deaf association protested to make the restaurant manager apologized. (See the previous blog)

The public relations of the company headquarters for the chain stores has dealt with such problem carefully earlier than the establishment of the law of  a person with disabilities discrimination personal, and has conferred separately as far as possible. So the customer management of this restaurant was against the company policy, and they apologized. 
However, protection on the restaurant and criticism to the Deaf association were on the Internet after the news run.

Reactions from the readers:
"Because the restaurant isn't "a volunteer," it has the right to choose a customer indeed. Moreover the manager said it was impossible to do what was asked for this time."

"It's necessary to consider a way for a disability bears, but because this case will ask overdone "special treatment," which causes discrimination. It's also better for the Deaf group to study how to make a protest properly."

"When there is something, people usually make noise about discrimination, which causes a problem immediately, and there even is a case which side is discriminated against the other, which is not clear consequently."

The Shiga Prefecture Center of the Deaf which supports the Deaf community says disappointedly, "A very regrettable thing. If declined, the Deaf person will be unable to have a conversation by writing, and can't go anywhere. Though we're working hard to raise the status of the person with disabilities to remove discrimination as much as possible...."

Japanese source:

Related blog:
Restaurant manager who refused Deaf person's request for reservation apologies

Restaurant manager who refused Deaf person's request for reservation apologies

July 30, 2016

A Deaf person who lives in Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto wanted to have a dinner with his friends on May 21 at a restaurant in Amagasaki-shi, Hyogo Prefecture, so he made a reservation by fax on May 9.

The Deaf person received a fax from the restaurant manager the next day, May 10. He replied, "We don't have any staff who can sign, and it is impossible to serve you by means of writing. When there is no interpreter with you, we are sorry not to accept your reservation."

The Deaf person came to the Shiga Prefecture Association of the Deaf for advice, saying he was discriminated by the restaurant because of deafness.  

The association protested against the restaurant through Hyogo Prefecture Association of the Deaf near Osaka, etc.  

The restaurant manager explained and apologized. "The eating and drinking is limited within 90 minutes, which makes service difficult by means of writing. We didn't know how to meet the needs of the Deaf person at our place and declined his request. We are sorry about it."

Attempts to make library accessible to Deaf persons

July 30, 2016

Shinichi Library located at Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima Prefecture in western Japan has begun to response the needs of Deaf/deaf persons by means of writing. The yellow card, put near the reception counter, is used to inform that the user is asking for information by means of writing.

The library director has seen a staff talking to a Deaf visitor at the end of April, unable smoothly to communicate with the person. Here comes the yellow card.

 On the other hand, the Central Library in the prefecture has arranged two staff who can sign  since 2008 so that Deaf people and others feel comfortable to use the facility. A staff proposed to hold an event for Deaf/deaf children to read a story book as well as for many people to get know communication by sign language. The first event was successful.

Japanese source: