Disability Human Rights Japan United Nations

U.N. Committee urges Japan to mind its language with regards to disability

A U.N. Committee dealing with the rights of people with disabilities in Japan, on Friday 9th September, expressed its concerns about the use of “derogatory terminology” used to describe disability.

By Barrier Free Japan

September 14 2022

GENEVA – A U.N. Committee dealing with the rights of people with disabilities in Japan, on Friday 9th September, expressed its concerns about the use of “derogatory terminology” used to describe disability such as:

“ “mentally incompetent”, “mental derangement”, and “insanity”, as well as discriminatory legal restrictions, such as disqualifying clauses, based on “physical or mental disorder” ”

The Committee also cautioned Japan about the inaccurate translations of some terms used to define and describe disability, highlighting:

“Inaccurate translation of the Convention into Japanese, particularly, of the terms “inclusion”, “inclusive”, “communication”, “accessibility”, “access”, “particular living arrangement”, “personal assistance”, and “habilitation”.”

Japan became a signatory to the U.N. Convention on the Rights for Persons with Disabilities in 2014, and the ‘Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities’ in order to comply with U.N. Convention was passed by the Japanese National Government in 2013 and was an active statute from April 1st 2016.    

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