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Vietnamese government officials visit Japanese welfare facilities in preparation for basic law for the disabled [2008/06/25]

Meeting with Setagaya Ward personnel

The government of Vietnam plans to establish a basic law to aid its many citizens with disability. At the invitation of the Nippon Foundation, members of the team working on this project visited Japan from May 11 to 18 to observe facilities for those with disabilities. (Photo: Visit to Human Care Association independent-living center for the disabled)

Vietnam, which is reported to be home to 5.1 million individuals with disabilities (as of 2005), has yet to establish a law to aid these people. However, it is currently working rapidly to rectify this situation, based on the current Japanese system.

The visiting group consisted of seven members from Vietnam's Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Finance, and was lead by MOLISA Deputy Minister Lu Bak Hong. In addition to visits to independent-living facilities for those with disabilities, they went to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Cabinet Office to learn about Japanese government policies on the disabled, focusing mainly on the “Independence Support Law for Those with Disabilities.” Japanese representatives described the circumstances at locations such as a home for the disabled in Hachioji, a group home for the mentally disabled in Hino, and such Tokyo facilities as an employment center, its related factories, and a medical massage center.(Photo: Representatives visiting Japan)

On the 13th, Yasuyuki Motohashi, manager of the Handicapped Facilities Promotion Department of Setagaya Ward's Health and Welfare Division, and Teruhisa Yokoyama, representative of the Center for Independent Living HANDS Setagaya, gave a presentation on local measures to support those with disabilities.

Mr. Motohashi described the conditions following the establishment of the Independence Support Law for the Disabled. Mr. Yokoyama, who uses a wheelchair, and has been assisted by helpers for 40 years, spoke from the perspective of someone who receives aid under the system. (Photo: The visitors with Chairman Sasakawa)

The visitors from Vietnam showed strong enthusiasm for establishing a similar system in their own country, asking questions on many topics, including how handbooks for the disabled are issued, how levels of disabilities are designated, the number of helpers active in Setagaya Ward, and the amount paid under basic pensions for the disabled. Finally, they paid a courtesy call on Chairman Yohei Sasakawa of the Nippon Foundation, who offered encouragement and issued a call to work together on behalf of the disabled.
Posted by TNF at 10:06 | Social Welfare | URL
Protecting the Disabled in Times of Disaster [2008/04/28]

Residents evacuated during the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
(Courtesy of The Association to Continuously Record the Great Hanshin Earthquake)

How should the physically disabled be evacuated in the event of fire, when surrounded by flames and suffocating, blinding smoke? When an earthquake or a flood hits, what can they do? Growing emphasis is being placed on measures to protect the disabled in the event of disasters, and on March 8, a forum on just this theme was held in Beppu, Japan. (Photo: Forum venue)

The forum was hosted in part by Shinsai ga Tsunagu Zenkoku Network (National Network Formed through Earthquake Disasters), a group of 24 earthquake disaster support organizations from around the nation, which with support from The Nippon Foundation has since 2002 conducted educational campaigns to reduce disaster damage.

In Beppu City, a severely disabled woman died in an apartment fire last year, a major shock to the disabled, welfare workers, and the community in general. The forum, which was attended by about 200 disabled people and welfare participants, sought to establish lessons from this accident. “I’m worried I’ll die if another fire breaks out,” said 37-year-old Mr. Hironori Fukuda, who lives in the apartment where the fire had occurred. “Cooperation between neighboring residents is essential for emergency evacuations of disabled people.” (Photo: Mr. Fukuda)

Mr. Yasuyuki Tokuda of the Support Network for Homebound Disabled People commented that it was not possible to discuss disaster prevention without taking the disabled and elderly into account. He cited an example from the Great Hanshin Earthquake in which an emergency call from a severely disabled person was ignored, and one from the time of the 2000 Tokai flood in which a hearing-disabled person failed to notice flooding. Mr. Kurita said, “Although local governments and groups can’t do everything, residents tend to depend on measures others can provide. The first thing is to make it possible for people to help each other within the community.” (Photo: Mr. Kurita)

The Shinsai ga Tsunagu Zenkoku Network will hold its classes in six locations across the nation this fiscal year. The group also edits and sells booklets on earthquake disaster support for community education.
Posted by TNF at 11:10 | Social Welfare | URL
International symposium on the elimination of domestic violence [2008/01/23]

Symposium on the elimination of domestic violence held at Makuhari Messe

With the support of the Nippon Foundation and private-sector businesses, the National Women’s Shelter Net (Director: Keiko Kondo), an NPO that works to eradicate violence between married, divorced, and unmarried couples, held its International Forum on DV Elimination: The 10th National Shelter Symposium 2007 in Chiba, Japan over a three-day period beginning November 23. Related parties from Asia attended this symposium as well, where they reported on matters such as domestic violence and support systems for victims in their own countries, including measures that need to be implemented to combat the problem.

At 1:00 p.m. on the first day of the symposium, a total of about 800 people from across Japan assembled in the Makuhari Messe International Convention Complex for an opening ceremony led by general coordinator Sachiko Kagami, former NHK announcer and honorary chair of the Chiba City Women’s Center. A keynote address was read by Dr. Mitsuko Horiuchi (former Deputy Director of the International Labour Organization) on behalf of Dr. Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling (former Vice-Chair of the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women), who was unable to come to Japan due to a sudden illness. The message, entitled “World’s Efforts and Japan’s Issues on Eradicating Violence Against Women,” noted that “violence against women is a form of discrimination and should be treated as a human-rights issue” and called on the Japanese government to “think about what is lacking in Japan’s legal system.”(Photo:A banner reading “No More DV” hangs from the main entrance to the venue)

Discussions led by attendees from China, South Korea, Mongolia, and Hong Kong and Japan followed, with discussions on policies for eradicating domestic violence in each country and territory. Although the state of legal protection varies by country, the problem is serious in all countries, with many cases said to have resulted in murder. Reports from attendees included a comment from a Japanese participant indicating that “although the relevant laws have been passed, practical implementation is lacking, and there is no system for educating those that commit domestic violence.” An attendee from Mongolia commented, “If we do not change the traditional view of women as subordinate to men, domestic violence will never go away.” A Chinese participant offered the observation that “we have no special laws on domestic violence, because it is considered a personal matter.” Each country called for strengthening penalties against those that commit domestic violence.(Photo:An exhibition outside the venue calls for legal action on behalf of victims of domestic violence)

The symposium, separated into two sessions, concluded with the unanimous recognition that support and cooperation across national borders is essential in protecting women’s rights. On the same day, jazz singer Tina, a supporter of the goals of this symposium, performed two songs. That evening, a reception was held to commemorate the establishment of a fund for supporting independent living among victims of domestic violence, established with private-sector support. On the following two days, a forum led by women Diet members and an international symposium were held at the Overseas Vocational Training Association (OVTA) in Chiba.

              

   Attendees at the forum at OVTA     Guestsinger Tina 

According to the National Police Agency, the number of reports concerning violence perpetrated by spouses is increasing across Japan. The number of cases totaled 14,410 in 2004, 16,888 in 2005, and 18,236 in 2006. Since a notable number of cases develop into serious crimes such as murder, the need to address this issue is growing in importance.
Posted by TNF at 15:26 | Social Welfare | URL