February 15 2023
HOKKAIDO – A survey by the Hokkaido prefectural government found that there are at least nine towns and villages in the prefectural that prohibit people with intellectual disabilities from sitting on the council through bylaws or regulations. The prefecture is calling for action, such as considering amendments to the ‘Act for the Elimination of Disability Discrimination’, on the grounds that this may be in violation of the Act.
The Hokkaido survey was conducted in response to a Shizuoka Prefecture civic group made up of people with mental disabilities, and found that at least nine towns and villages in the prefecture have ordinances and regulations that prohibit people with “mental disorders” and “mentally disabled persons” from sitting on the council.
It is alleged that by the Hokkaido prefectural government these ordinances and regulations may contravene the Act for Elimination of Disability Discrimination, which came into force in 2016, and the prefecture is calling for action such as considering amendments.
According to the National Association of Chairpersons of Prefectural Assemblies, which is made up of chairpersons of prefectural assemblies across Japan, the rules for listening to assemblies of local governments are often based on the “Listening Rules” established by the association in 1959, and these rules initially included a section prohibiting people with mental disabilities from listening to the assemblies.
The prefectural government will check whether such regulations and rules are still in place in municipalities other than the nine and compile the results within the next week, with the prefectural government official saying that they would like to encourage each municipality to apply the rules appropriately in order to promote the creation of a discrimination-free community.
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