By Barrier Free Japan
March 27 2021
TOKYO – On March 26, during a session on the budget, Japanese lawmakers with disabilities were able to cast a vote in person owing to a ramp that had been built in the House of Councillors in January. This was the first time in history a lawmaker with a disability could vote in person, before it had to be done via a House of Councillors staff member.
Yasuhiko Funago of the Reiwa Shinsengumi Party, making a statement jointly with Eiko Kimura, also of the Reiwa Shinsengumi Party, as well as Takanori Yokozawa, a member of the Constitutional Democratic Party and former Paralympian, marked the occasion:
“In January this year, a ramp was installed on the platform of the House of Councillors plenary session hall. Until now, when voting by name or nominating the Prime Minister, the House of Councillors staff had to be entrusted with wooden cards to cast votes. This is the first time in the history of constitutional politics that this has been done, and it is groundbreaking. For us, it is a very moving experience to be able to directly vote our thoughts.
In addition to the installation of the ramp, the House of Councillors has made steady progress in making itself barrier-free, including the installation of sign language interpreters at the plenary session of the House of Councillors when the policy speeches and representative questions are broadcast on the Internet, and the installation of elevators at the entrance.”