July 2nd 2021
TOKYO– The Mainichi Shimbun has learned that the rules of an unlicensed childcare facility in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward that offers sports education include a statement to the effect that children with developmental disabilities may be asked to leave the facility if they have trouble living at the school. This may be in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act, which prohibits discriminatory treatment of people with disabilities, and Setagaya Ward, which has supervisory authority, has advised the facility to amend its rules.
The childcare facility is called “Buddy Sports Preschool Setagaya”. According to the operator’s website, the school provides childcare and sports education for children aged two to five. In addition to this facility, there are a total of seven affiliated and sister schools in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture.
The facility distributes its rules and regulations at information sessions for parents wishing to enroll their children. It states, “If a child is diagnosed with a developmental disability such as autism or attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or if there is a fear that the child may be diagnosed with such a disability, and it is judged that the child will have trouble with school life or physical education in general, we will encourage the child to move to special support education in consideration of the child’s growth and development, and may ask the child to leave the school.
The facility is covered by the free early childhood education and care program that began in October 2019, and the ward’s additional subsidies are applied to it as it meets the guidance and supervision standards for unapproved childcare facilities set by the government. The ward said, “During the on-site inspection, we judged that the wording of the rules might conflict with the Law for the Elimination of All Forms of Child Care, so we orally advised the preschool to revise the rules.
When the Mainichi Shimbun asked the management company of the preschool about the intentions of the rule in writing, they replied on June 22 that they were revising the content of the rule in consultation with the ward, but they did not provide any detailed explanation as to whether any children had actually left the preschool.
The Law for the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, which came into effect in April 2004, prohibits public institutions and private businesses from discriminating against persons with disabilities. In May this year, a revised law was enacted requiring private businesses to provide “reasonable accommodation” to support the mobility and communication of people with disabilities to a reasonable extent.The Childcare Division of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has said that “there have been no confirmed cases so far” of rules on exclusion on the grounds of developmental disabilities. The use of unapproved childcare facilities is only within the scope of individual contracts, but in general terms, there is a risk that the law on discrimination against persons with disabilities will be violated,” he explained.
It is highly likely that this is an unfair and discriminatory treatment (of people with disabilities),” said Jun Ueki, a professor of constitutional law at Meijo University who is familiar with the law.