Japan Country Report 2014

Country Report–Japan

 

 

  1. Describe one or two recent highlights (over the past 2 years)

 

  • After years of efforts on disability legislations prior to the ratification of CRPD (amendments to the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities, enactment of the Law for the Welfare of Persons with Disabilities and the Act to Advance the Elimination of Discrimination Based on Handicap, amendment to the Employment Promotion Law), Japan finally ratified CRPD in January 2014.
  • Low Vision Care has become subject to health insurance coverage. This will be a dawn of medical and rehabilitation service for persons who have low vision.
  • An increasing number of platforms in railway stations are having moving doors installed, especially in urban areas, which has been promoting safe mobility of the blind using railway transport services.
  • Sports for persons with disabilities were regarded as part of rehabilitation and positioned under welfare administration. As Tokyo won the bid for Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020, the national government changed their policy on sports for persons with disabilities, which are now positioned together with sports for persons without disabilities from April 2014.

 

 

  1. What challenges are being faced at present at organisational or country level?

 

  • Country level
  1. One of the challenges is to ensure financial sustainability and livelihood for the blind by means of securing or even improving the current level of disability pension, which is jeopardized by the huge fiscal deficit of the government. More than 60% of persons with visual impairment are in their senior age who depend their livelihood on pension, so this issue is very critical.
  2. As the country moves toward inclusive education, the roles of blind schools and other special support schools must be gone through for possible changes. While blind schools need reviews on the criteria for establishment and curriculum as we have less students in blind school classes but more students with severe or multiple disabilities, we also need to work urgently to come up with directions on how to use expertise of these special schools for the benefit of blind children who are studying at regular schools in the community.

 

  • Organizational level
  1. One of the biggest challenges is to expand membership, especially to younger generations and population with low vision.
  2. The issues facing persons with low vision must be tackled with, not just by JFB alone but jointly with different organizations and sectors.
  3. This year, we have seen unfortunate reports of attacks on guide dogs or blind pedestrians. This reminds us that we still have a long way to go with awareness raising about blindness and persons with visual impairment so that they can live equally without discrimination or abuse.

 

 

  1. Name examples of progress in your country towards ratifying, implementation and monitoring of the UNCRPD (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

 

  • Japan finally ratified CRPD in January 2014, and has promoted legislative measures at the same time. We now have to work hard to raise awareness about elimination of discrimination or promotion of reasonable accommodation so that the society is at consensus.
  • The Cabinet Office has the Disability Policy Committee to examine implementation of he Act to Advance the Elimination of Discrimination Based on Handicap or the basic disability policies and also to monitor the implementation of CRPD. However, the committee is not fully independent from the national government, thus we are not sure whether the monitoring will be sufficient and adequate. Besides, we still do not know about the process on finalizing the contents of Japan’s report to the CRPD Committee, which is due in 2 years time.

 

 

  1. Explain how you are supporting other neighbouring or developing countries in terms of the wellbeing and capacity building or empowerment of blind and vision impaired persons.

 

  • Donation to help blind people and persons with other disabilities in the Philippines affected by Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda) 院March 2014
  • The Nippon Foundation-funded project for technical training of educators for the blind to support vocational training in massage with the framework of newly established national qualifications in Thailand (2012 and 2013)
  • Duskin & JICA leadership training programs to foster leaders with disabilities in developing countries who will take leadership in self-help movement or disability services
  • Technical training programs of massage and training of instructors, including support of students at blind schools run by the International Association for the Visually Impaired (IAVI) and technical assistance from Asia Medical Massage Instructors Network (AMIN)
  • Exchange programs between blind schools in Japan and outside based on their sister school arrangements
  • Technical assistance for sports for the blind and exchange programs by different organizations includeing the Sports Committee of Japan Federation of the Blind
    • Technical assistance for Braille production led by Japan Braille Library

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