By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from MSN via The Yomiuri Shimbun
June 6 2021
AICHI – A deaf man, 33, living in Nagoya City, who was infected with the new coronavirus and requested hotel treatment, was rejected by Aichi Prefecture, saying it was difficult for him to communicate by telephone.
The ‘All Japan Federation of the Deaf’ submitted a request for improvement to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the ministry will consider asking local governments not to exclude hearing-impaired people from hotel treatment.
According to the prefectural government, the man developed a high fever on April 24 and was found to be infected on April 26. Concerned about infecting his wife, 31, and eldest daughter, 3, he told the Nagoya City Ward office that he wanted to stay in a hotel.
However, the prefectural government, which is in charge of arranging accommodation, refused, saying it was “difficult to cope” with the situation from a safety point of view, so he stayed at home.
In principle, the prefectural government recommends that people with minor illnesses who do not require hospitalisation stay in hotels. On May 27, the prefectural association for the hearing impaired sent an e-mail to the man apologizing for the lack of consideration, and from June 1, when hearing-impaired people stay at the hotel, the hotel will confirm their safety by e-mail and install a red light in the room to warn them that a nurse or other staff member will contact them in an emergency.
According to the ministry, the decision to allow disabled people to stay in hotels is left to local authorities. In Tokyo, a public health center inquired whether a person who was completely deaf could receive treatment at a hotel, but the center refused, saying it was difficult.
Hidekatsu Kashiwakura, a professor of welfare for the disabled at Sakuragakuen University, said: “Aichi Prefecture’s response goes against the purpose of the Disability Discrimination Act. It is a typical example of how people with disabilities are put on the back burner in emergencies like the coronavirus and disasters. Local governments should devise ways to accept people with disabilities,” he said.