August 30th 2019
Eiko Kimura, a disabled person who was recently elected to the Japanese parliament’s Upper House was interviewed by The Tokyo Shimbun. Eiko Kimura was born in Yokohama. At the age of eight months, she fell from the entrance and became disabled. After graduating from school, he started living alone in Kunitachi, Tokyo at the age of 19. Kimura established the “Independence Station Tsubasa”, in Tama City, in 1994 to support the independence of persons with disabilities and she is the secretary-general of the organization.
These are translated extracts from the interview.
TS: What do you want to focus on as a member of the Diet?
EK: I would like to focus on policies for people with disabilities with the aim of creating a society where people with severe disabilities can live. The problem is that severe home care cannot be used for parliamentarians. There is a reality that commuting and assistance for persons with disabilities are not guaranteed.
TS: What are your thoughts on Article 9 of the Constitution?
EK: In the event of a war or disaster, people with disabilities who get help are the most victims. As a severely disabled person, there is a fear that reforms will start a war again. It is necessary for a person to wish for peace and to observe the Constitution, and for it to be fully debated by the public.
TS: What about Article 25, which established the right to survive?
EK: The right to live a healthy and cultural life is not guaranteed enough for people with severe disabilities as a matter of fact…I want to work on guaranteeing the rights of the Constitution so that I can live in the community.
TS: A consumption tax increase is scheduled for October.
EK: There are few people with disabilities who are earning income from work. Some families have disabilities and it is difficult for them to work. The consumption tax increase is directly linked to their lives.
TS: On starting living independently at the age of nineteen.
EK: The care system wasn’t as good as it was now, and I had to find someone to help me to eat. I handed out leaflets at the university and looked for volunteers to help with toilets, shopping, and meals. Even if I gave it away, it would have come or not. ”
TS: You married and gave birth.
EK: Child-raising was very difficult. Even when I put my son on my lap and breastfeeded, I asked my husband and caregiver to say“ Let my son sleep here ”and supported my son with cushions. If people with disabilities are in trouble in front of their eyes, they will be worried about what to do. The disabled and healthy people cannot be said to live in the same society, and there is a wall. I felt that. ”
TS: On appealing for a change in society
EK: I have supported each person and sent a number of people with disabilities to the community. I will now be involved in the national system as a member of the Diet. I decided to change the current situation of people with disabilities on a larger scale.”