Disability Japan Politics Reiwa Shinsengumi

Japanese political party ‘Reiwa Shinsengumi’ with two elected members with disabilities, in conflict over use of the term ‘selecting lives’

"Selecting lives," this word revives the unavoidable fear that I have had since I was a child, that I may be killed. I was very sad. It seems that my 35 years of fighting against discrimination in the community were denied, and I was very disappointed and could not control my anger.

By Barrier Free Japan with extracts translated from Jiji Press & Eiko Kimura’s website

July 17 2020

At a press conference on July 16, Reiwa Shinsengumi’s leader Taro Yamamoto said that in a press conference last year that Tsuneki Ohnishi, who ran as a member of the party as a proportional representative for the Upper House election, said in a video that “selecting lives” was acceptable. Yamamoto made a criticism saying “it is not acceptable”. Mr. Onishi was scheduled to run in the national election next time.

The press conference appeared to be a response to Eiko Kimura, a member of Reiwa Shinsengumi’ party and an elected member of the Diet, who wrote the following on her blog on July 15:

“When I heard Mr. Onishi’s statement, “I think it’s useless if you don’t select your life. I’ll tell you clearly, but that choice is politics.” I was horrified.

“Life Selection” If it becomes a world determined by politics, I, a severely disabled person who needs constant care, will be the first to be selected.

I was obliged to obey others because I had to entrust my life to someone from an early age with disabilities. Giving all my life, my body, my life, to others is to be ruled.

“Selecting lives,” this word revives the unavoidable fear that I have had since I was a child, that I may be killed. Mr. Onishi’s statement is a statement that gives fear to those who can not live without entrusting their lives to people, and I think that it is a rant that hurt not only the elderly but also the weak as a whole, including the disabled.

I doubted what this statement came from a member of the Reiwa Shinsengumi, a political party that has the principle that “people are worth living.”

I was very sad. It seems that my 35 years of fighting against discrimination in the community were denied, and I was very disappointed and could not control my anger.

At a meeting to hear the opinions of the parties regarding Mr. Onishi’s remarks, Mr. Onishi only talked about how his claim was correct, even though the parties cried in tears I didn’t try to show my understanding.

In addition, despite posting an apology and withdrawal on the video of the selection of life, the video was released again the day after listening to the story of the parties, and we continue to insist on the selection of life. We cannot wipe away the fear of our intention to stay.

Mr. Onishi’s disposition will be decided at the general meeting, but I cannot forgive Mr. Onishi’s remarks this time.

However, I think this is not just a problem for Mr. Onishi, but a problem for society as a whole. There are many people with similar ideas as Mr. Onishi, though there are differences.

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From a young age, people with disabilities could not be separated from those with normal disabilities, and I think that it was possible to imagine the suffering of the other person if there was a relationship on a daily basis, but in the present situation, people with disabilities and normal people learn together and together. It is not a structure of a society that works and lives together, and by not knowing each other, misunderstandings and prejudices prevail, and discrimination is born unknowingly.

This time’s remark is just an evil of being divided.

Reiwa Shinsengumi is the first party in the history of constitutional government to create a member of the Diet with severe disabilities and the first party to do what no one has done to join the politics of the vulnerable members of society.

In order to create a society in which no one is excluded, each suffering or angry party can change by engaging in politics, which is the most necessary politics for creating a society in which everyone can live. I think.

Discrimination against the vulnerable has become apparent in this case, but I have realized the philosophy of my own: “learn together, help each other, acknowledge each other, eliminate discrimination, and live together”. However, in order to create a “society where everyone can live,” we will continue to face discrimination and change politics.

It is not politics that selects lives, but the politics that I aim for is not to select lives.”

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