Disability

Severely disabled Diet member Daisuke Tenbata criticizes measures for people with disabilities, calling them “paternalistic”

Reiwa Shinsengumi's Daisuke Tenbata, who has a severe disability, asked Prime Minister Kishida about policies for persons with disabilities at the House of Councilors Budget Committee through an interpreter. Tenbata criticized it harshly for being "paternalistic" and elicited promises from the Prime Minister to meet and listen to the parties concerned.

Extract from Buzzfeed Japan

October 20 2022

JAPAN – Reiwa Shinsengumi’s Daisuke Tenbata, who has a severe disability, asked Prime Minister Kishida about policies for persons with disabilities at the House of Councilors Budget Committee through an interpreter. Tenbata criticized it harshly for being “paternalistic” and elicited promises from the Prime Minister to meet and listen to the parties concerned.

At the House of Councilors Budget Committee meeting held on October 20, Mr. Tenbata first made a speech in a clear manner, saying, “I am Daisuke Tenbata of the Reiwa Shinsengumi. I am the most disabled researcher in Japan.” After that, the interpreter started asking questions by reading on behalf of him. Prime Minister Kishida and other lawmakers in attendance watched the scene closely.

Tenbata declared, “Japan’s policies for persons with disabilities are paternalistic,” and added, “I think the most important concern about the UN recommendations is that Japan’s policies for persons with disabilities are paternalistic. In other words, it is a charity from a person in a higher position.” 

“For example, a severely disabled person like me, in principle, does not receive public assistance expenses while commuting to work, school, or at work. I believe that the government should guarantee assistance, but at present the system is very paternalistic,” and public assistance during schoolwork and work is accepted as a matter of course.”

He continued, “The Diet is also paternalistic. Even in the truest sense, they don’t understand rational considerations. It takes a long time for me to speak. That is why I read the scheduled manuscripts for questions in the Diet. However, the decision to stop the countdown is ultimately left to the individual discretion of the chairperson. There is no mechanism in place to guarantee the right to speak at any time. Originally, it was necessary to extend the question and answer time, but it was not done.”

After that, Tenbata asked the Prime Minister, “Don’t you think it’s a lack of reasonable accommodation?”

Prime Minister Kishida said, “I think everyone involved in the Diet must take such criticism seriously. I would like everyone to think about how much we can respond to that criticism within the Diet system.”

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