Coronavirus COVID-19 Deaf Hearing Impaired Japan

After a hearing-impaired person was refused care, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare requests local gov’ts use sign language during pandemic

After a hearing-impaired person infected with the new corona virus was refused the use of accommodation facilities because it was difficult to communicate by telephone, Japan's Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has issued a notice to local governments asking them to introduce remote sign language interpretation and written communication so that people with hearing disabilities infected with the new coronavirus can use facilities.

By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from The Yomiuri Shimbun

June 27 2021

TOKYO -In April, a hearing-impaired person infected with the new coronavirus was refused the use of accommodation facilities because it was difficult to communicate by telephone.

A deaf man, 33, living in Nagoya City, who was infected with the new coronavirus requested hotel treatment after he developed a high fever on April 24, and was confirmed 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 such accommodation, refused, saying it was “difficult to cope” with the situation from a safety point of view, so he stayed at home.

The Japanese Federation of the Deaf requested that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare make it easier for persons with disabilities to use the accommodation facilities.

On June 16th the Ministry issued a notice to local governments asking them to introduce remote sign language interpretation and use written communication so that people with hearing disabilities infected with the new coronavirus can use such facilities.

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