Care Disability Japan

Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare aims to make care facilities a ‘living place’ for people with disabilities

The Japanese government intends to make residential care facilities a form of "living place" and promote the transition of residents to the community and the use of private rooms.  

By Barrier Free Japan & The Fukuishi Shimbun via Yahoo! Japan

May 11 2021

On April 23, the Disabled Persons Subcommittee of the Social Security Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (chaired by Professor Kaimi Kikuchi of Waseda University), which is reviewing the Comprehensive Support Law for the Disabled, heard opinions from related organizations.

The Japan Welfare Association for the Mentally Handicapped called for the name of “daily living care” to be changed to “social life support” to support day-to-day living. The association says it wants to make clear that it promotes the independence and social participation of people with disabilities.  

The government intends to make residential care facilities a form of “living place” and promote the transition of residents to the community and the use of private rooms.    In addition to being a place for daytime activities for people living in residential care facilities, it is also a place for people to commute from their homes. About 290,000 people, mainly those with severe disabilities, use this service. The annual cost is over 700 billion yen, which accounts for about 30% of all welfare services for the disabled.  

On the other hand, for group homes, which are increasingly being used by people with severe disabilities and the elderly, the government has called for them to be classified as “nursing care benefits” rather than the current “training benefits”, and for all staff assigned to them to be life support workers (care workers) rather than caretakers.    

From the standpoint of supporting people’s lives in the community, they requested that “mobility support”, which is currently provided by municipalities, be made an individual benefit. In emphasizing social participation, it was decided that individual benefits with clear entitlements would be more appropriate than a project with greater discretion for municipalities.    The National Federation of Fostering Societies for Handicapped Children also insisted on individual benefits for mobility support. It called for the integration of residential institutions for children with disabilities and children’s homes, given the fact that the attributes of the children in these institutions are similar.  

Regarding after-school day care services for children with disabilities, it was proposed that there should be a distinction between services for primary schools students and services for junior and senior high school students. In principle, primary schools students should use after-school children’s clubs (school children’s day care), and the ministry called for a system that would allow providers to combine after-school day care and school children’s day care.  

The Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has listed municipal projects (community life support projects) and services for children with disabilities as issues for review, and these two issues are likely to be major points of discussion in future hearings. The committee will compile a report by the end of this year to revise the law.

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