Coronavirus COVID-19 Deaf Disability Japan

Saitama Prefecture to provide a Sign Language interpreter at Prefectural press conferences

Of the seven prefectures that were initially covered by the the state of emergency being declared in Japan, Saitama is the only the prefecture to have no sign language interpreter at the Governor's press conferences.

Written with extracts translated from Jiji

April 23 2020

SAITAMA – On April 23rd the Saitama Prefectural Government announced that since the prefecture will soon be affected by the spread of the new coronavirus and a sign language interpreter will be added to the governor’s interview. Governor Ono Motohiro says, “It is desirable that information be delivered to all citizens of the prefecture.”

Of the seven prefectures that were initially covered by the the state of emergency being declared in Japan, Saitama is the only the prefecture to have no sign language interpreter at the Governor’s press conferences.

The Prefecture was transcribing the Governor’s exchange at the press conference and posting it on its website.

In March, the prefecture’s hearing impaired association requested that the prefecture introduce a sign language interpreter in addition to text to deliver the governor’s interview and video of the interview.

Shinichiro Koide (55), a representative of the association emphasized that it is difficult for a person raised in sign language to read Japanese and it may take time. The situation surrounding the new virus has changed day by day, and he said, “Under the circumstances where a sign language interpreter is not available, there is a sense of danger that information cannot be obtained in real time.”

On April 12, Saitama Prefecture conformed that a total of 40 new coronavirus infections. In addition, at two facilities for the disabled, operated by a social welfare corporation in Tokorozawa City, a total of 10 staff members and users were found to be infected, that the prefecture was examining as a cluster.

According to the prefecture, there are about 15,000 deaf people in the prefecture.

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