Policies for Persons with Disabilities in Japan from the Viewpoint of a Person with a Disability

By Eddie Cox,2014-07-10 23:39
7 views 0 Policies for Persons with Disabilities in Japan from the Viewpoint of a Person with a Disability Born prematurely in a state of suspended animation. Diagnosed as having cerebral palsy at the age of one. Affected lower extremities are of spastic type? Spent my elementary school days in a special school/i..

Policies for Persons with Disabilities in Japan from the Viewpoint of a Person with a Disability

    Born prematurely in a state of suspended animation. Diagnosed as having

    cerebral palsy at the age of one. Affected lower extremities are of spastic


    Spent my elementary school days in a special school/institution for

    children with disabilities. My experiences in the institution :

    ? Entering the institution was decided by a Child Guidance Center and my parents. I was

    informed one week before entering.

    ? Wanted to bring many books with me, but it was not allowed because of property

    restriction rules.

    ? Found name tags with "No. 51 Koji Onoue" written with a felt-tipped pen, sewed on

    everything from the jacket to the undergarments.

    ? Dreadful experiences of a surgical operation and exercises before going to bed (Refer to

    Material 1)

    ? The special school was on the second floor of the institution. We spent 24 hours each

    day just being in the institution : "What does a traffic light look like?" "A shopping day"

    ? It was always emphasized to us that "a person with a disability must have endearing

    qualities so as to be cared for by others."

    ? Some staff in the institution and teachers of the special school who provided moral

    support when transferring to an ordinary junior high school Attending an ordinary junior high school

    ? Upon enrollment "Now that you are in an ordinary school, we shall not be giving you

    any special treatment. Do not depend on the help of facilities, teachers, or other


     "Is doing nothing for me equal to 'no special treatment'?"

    ? Surprised at a students' general meeting "Are there this many people?"

    ? Being carried on the back of my classmate moving to the music room, etc.

    TOP ?

    1949 - Enactment of the Law for the Welfare of Physically Disabled Persons 1960 - Enactment of the Mental Hygiene Law (the present Mental Health and Welfare Law)

    Enactment of the Law for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded Persons (the present Law for the Welfare of Intellectually Disabled Persons) Physically Handicapped Persons' Employment Promotion Law (the present Law for Employment Promotion, etc. of the Disabled Persons)

    ※ Policies for persons with disabilities were implemented based on the above-mentioned three laws, but the focus was placed on economic regeneration, and those who were not capable of doing that were left in social isolation.

    ? After the war, various organizations for persons with disabilities were established and the Law for the Welfare of Physically Disabled Persons was enacted (1949).

    = The background of the enactment of the law includes the fact that Countermeasures for Wounded Veterans ceased to exist due to the abolition of the Military Protection Agency in the course of GHQ's policy of the "democratization and abolition of militarism of Japan." In that sense, it can be said that a big aspect of the enactment of this law has to do with the "Generalization of countermeasures for wounded veterans." ? 1960s – High economic growth and "socialization of issues of persons

    with disabilities" :

    "Law for the Welfare of Mentally Retarded Persons" and "Physically Handicapped Persons' Employment Promotion Law" (1960) The isolated

    institutionalization /rehabilitation policy as seen in the concept of Zenkoku (nationwide) Colony network (1965) evolved into the establishment of Nishikomago Colony in Nagano Prefecture, Funagata Colony in Miyagi Prefecture (1968), Kongo Colony in Osaka Prefecture (1970), National Colony Nozomi- no - sono (1971), etc. In the time of high economic growth, along with the shifting of labor forces creating thinly populated and overpopulated areas, the number of nuclear families became larger. Thus, the issues of persons with disabilities, which used to be hidden behind the support of bigger families, came to the fore. At the same time, since there occurred many incidents of killing children with disabilities and double suicides, the movement calling for the establishment of institutions by parents' associations and others became rampant. (Refer to Material 2)

    ? The incident of the killing of a child with a disability that occurred in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1970 led to parents' associations demanding leniency in the commutation of consequent punishment. Relative to this, the Kanagawa Aoishiba - no - Kai (The "Green Grass Association") raised the issue and denounced the move, saying, "Please realize the gravity of the fact that a person was killed." Through this process, accusations and raising the issue were carried out from the standpoint of persons with disabilities who were deemed to be "a life that should not exist," and this ideological stance was established.

    ? Since then, protest campaigns against the Eugenic Protection Law (renamed as the Maternal Protection Law in 1995), which helped encourage abortion of babies with disabilities, were carried out. Also, moves to acquire the right to transport, to struggle against public

    administrations in various places were done. Moreover, through this process, "independent persons with disabilities" emerged, meaning that persons with severe disabilities who need full attendance became independent by renting apartment houses in their communities with the help of 24-hour personal assistance (1975). And the movements for enrollment of children with disabilities in nursery schools and ordinary schools also became more active.

? End of 1960's~ Moves to accuse and denounce discrimination of persons

    with disabilities progressed.

    ? Battle against Fuchu Rehabilitation Center for Persons with Severe Disabilities, Araki class

    action, etc.

    1970 Kanagawa Aoishiba-no-Kai criticized the move towards leniency in

    the commutation of punishment in the killing of a child with a disability

    Awareness of being persons with disabilities who were deemed to be "a life

    that should not exist" came to the fore, and so their voices started to

    be heard.

    1974 Start of the Tokyo Metropolitan Attendant Dispatch Service for

    Persons with Cerebral Palsy (later referred to as the Attendant Dispatch

    Service for Persons with Systemic Disabilities)

    1976 Formation of Zenshoren (National Liaison Conference of the

    Liberation Movement for Persons with Disabilities)

    1979 Special school for children with disabilities became part of

    compulsory education Protest campaigns against this move spread on a

    nationwide scale in 1978.

    As we look at the above-mentioned movements in the 1970's, please note

    that the concepts of "normalization" and "independent living" which we

    hear about every now and then did not come about suddenly, but they emerged

    out of the struggles of persons with disabilities against isolation and

    discrimination. Please note also the opposing factors that brought about

    these concepts.

    "Rehabilitation Paradigm and Independent Living Paradigm"

     Rehabilitation Paradigm Independent Living Paradigm Definition of Physical impairment / lack of vocational Dependence upon professionals,

    problem skill family members and others

    Focus of In the environment; in the In the individual problem rehabilitation process

    Peer counseling, consumer Professional intervention by doctors, Solution to self-control with self-help, physical therapists, vocational the problem barrier removal rehabilitation counselors, etc.

Social role Patient / client Individual with a disability

    Who controls Professional Individual with a disability

    Desired Maximum ADL Independent living outcomes

    (Gerben DeJong : Independent Living, From Social Movement to Analytic

    Paradigm, Dec. 1979)

    1981 International Year of Disabled Persons

    1982 The Independent Living Movement in the United States was

    introduced. There came an increasing number of community workshops and

    small-scale workshops, where persons with disabilities can exist.

    Kyoudouren (Liaison of Joint Community Workshop)was formed.

    1983 Start of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons

    1986 Establishment of Disability Basic Pension System

    ? Japan National Assembly of Disabled Peoples' International (DPI-Japan) was organized.

    Human Care Association (Hachioji, Tokyo), the first full-fledged Independent Living

    center in Japan, was established.

    1986 Protest campaign against taxing institutions for persons with

    disabilities became strong. Around this time the movement toward group

    homes started at the local government level.

    In Osaka the Attendant Care Security System (=Attendant Dispatch Service

    for Persons with Systemic Disabilities) based on the right of persons with

    disabilities to make choices began (following Tokyo, then the system

    spread around major cities designated by government ordinance).

    1987 Mid-year review of the United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons

    1988 At the RI (Rehabilitation International) conference held at

    Shinjuku, Tokyo in 1988, we appealed to "get out of the control of

specialists." Then, we assembled for the international solidarity

    movement of persons with disabilities and a rally calling for accessible

    transportation. (Hereafter, activities for accessible transportation

    became an annual event which became large-scale with the participation

    of 3,000 people nationwide.)

    1989 Group Home System for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (national government) ; Osaka City Group Home System for Persons with

    Severe Disabilities ? Ministry of Health and Welfare established the "Gold Plan" which stipulates policy

    objectives for the next ten years concerning the elderly. 1990 The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) was passed. It was the result of a movement by a network of tens of thousands of people who

    participated from all over the U.S.

    Revision of eight laws related to social welfare the Home Attendant

    Service became a legal service.

    1991 The members of People First, a movement by persons with intellectual disabilities, visited Japan from the United States.

    Osaka City and other bus companies introduced passenger buses with lifts.

    Home-help service operation manual; "365 day-/24 hour- service"

    1992 Final year of the "United Nations Decade of Disabled Persons"; international symposia at nearly 20 places in Japan

    In Osaka Prefecture an "Ordinance for the foundation of comfortable living

    environments for persons with disabilities" was enacted for the first time

    in Japan (followed by all the other prefectures)

    A Guide Helper System for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities was begun

    in Osaka City.

    1993 Enactment of the Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities. "Persons with psychiatric disabilities" is included in the definition of the term

    "disabilities". "Independence and social participation" are alsob

    mentioned. Osaka Psychiatric Human Rights Center, an NPO, accused and

    investigated Yamatogawa Hospital (leading to the hospital's closure in


    1995 The National Government formulated the Plan for Persons with Disabilities (a 7-year strategy to promote normalization).

    1997 Osaka City Support Plan for Persons with Disabilities The description of independent living centers is clearly indicated in the plan.

    Violation of human rights such as the Shirakawa Ikusei-en Incident

    occurred one after another. ? Discussion on basic social welfare

    structural reform

    2000 Enactment of the Barrier-Free Transportation Law. Revision of the eight laws including the Social Welfare Law. Enactment and enforcement

    of the Nursing Care Insurance Law.

    2002 The DPI World Assembly was held in Sapporo with the participation of more than 3,000 people from 110 countries and regions.

    2003 There were protest activities for two weeks regarding the transfer of revenues for counseling services to a general account, and the issue

    of capping for home care service. The Assistance Benefit Supply System


    2004 present Integration with the Nursing Care Insurance was

    discussed. In autumn the "Grand Design of Health and Welfare for Persons

    with Disabilities" was introduced. Movement towards the Law concerning

    Self-reliance Support for Persons with Disabilities. Unprecedented

    participation in the movement of persons with disabilities as seen in a

    rally to the Diet with the participation of 11,000 people.

    ※ As mentioned earlier, in Japan persons with disabilities emerged as

    the subjects of social movements in the 1970's. The International Year

    of Disabled Persons in the 1980's helped disseminate the idea of

    normalization. However, please note that it was only in the 1990's when

    the support of community life/independent living in the actual systems

    and services started, and the gap between concept and reality is still

    very large and solutions are still being called for.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email