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14 January 2015

Expectations of the Second Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities

Secretariat-General of DPI Japan

Mr. Satoshi Sato

The Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities, which had been adjourned since this April, resumed on September 1st, marking it as the 13th meeting. The immediate issue facing the Commission will be the development of the basic guidelines for the Act to Eliminate Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities. The new members and the schedule are as follows:

 

Major Change of Members

There was a significant change in members. Among the 30 original members from the first commission, only 14 members now remain. In terms of organizations, 12 out of the 13 organizations that make up the Japan Disability Forum (JDF) were initially selected. However, this time around, it is 9 organizations. Several scholars who have extensive knowledge about the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) were also reshuffled. Even more unfortunate, is that there are no members with psychiatric disabilities or persons with intellectual disabilities among the new lineup. In the process of development activities of the CRPD, “Nothing about us without us” was the slogan of the persons with various disabilities from the many countries. When Japan ratified the Convention, the participation of persons with various types of disabilities in the ratification process was highly praised both within and outside of Japan. This is all the more reason why it is a significant problem that we do not have members with such disabilities in the current commission. As there are two vacant seats remaining, we will request to designate these to persons with disabilities.

 

The plan - a scrutiny of the basic guidelines to be conducted by October?

After the 14th committeeConduct interviews with businesses, etc. (Number of times is undecided)

In the middle of October: Hold discussions regarding the basic guidelines. (Number of times is undecided)

In October: Make a draft guideline.

In November: Implement public comment → Report the outcome to Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities.

Aim for roughly around the beginning of December for approval from a cabinet meeting.

Based on the basic guidelines, response guidelines at administrative agencies and response policies at the head minister will be created. (Estimated timeframe is next summer)

Composition of the basic guidelines

1. Basic direction regarding the policies for promoting the elimination of discrimination based on disability (E.g., the circumstances, background, and basic stance when enacting a legislation, etc.)

2. Common matters regarding measures that administrative bodies and businesses should take to eliminate discrimination based on disability (E.g., the range of disabilities which are affected, basic understandings of unreasonable and discriminatory treatment, and basic concepts of what constitutes reasonable accommodation and excessive burden, etc.)

3. Basic matters regarding measures that administrative bodies should take to eliminate discrimination based on disability (E.g., the range of agencies involved, positioning of response guidelines, issues which should be acknowledged, etc.)

4. Basic matters regarding measures that businesses should take to eliminate discrimination based on disability (E.g., which businesses are concerned, positioning of response policies, issues which should be acknowledged, etc.)

5. Important matters regarding policies for the promotion to eliminate other types of discriminations based on disability (E.g., development of a system for consultation and dispute settlement, enlightenment activities, matters related to the Regional Council on the Elimination of Discrimination against People with Disabilities, and the gathering, arrangement and provision of information, etc.)

 

Conclusion

This plan is on a fairly tight schedule as the commission resumed in September and needed to be organized some time in October. Substantial interviews and discussions were also to be carried out across 2 months, so there is considerable anxiety about whether an ample discussion can be held amongst the committee. A great deal of time is also needed for in-depth dialogue, and to avoid the discussion ending as a mere formality.

The Act to Eliminate Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, which has been established unanimously, will be a guidepost for constructing a new Japan. We hope that through the involvement of those it affects and through in-depth discussion, guidelines can be created and brought together in a way acceptable to many.

 

This is partly translated and edited by the volunteers; Akiko Iwamoto, Ayaka Mori and others.

 

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