Is 'Disability' Still a Dirty Word in Japan?
Sunday, August 27, 2006 Posted: 02:41 PM JST
In the 80s I organized the Osaka Charity Festival to collect funds to buy custom made wheelchairs for students of a special school in Osaka. At the time I was surprised that you saw virtually no people with disabilities on the street. There were also almost no attempts by the government for barrier free access. Much has changed since then. Almost all train stations now have elevators, special toilets can be found in many locations and the number of people with disabilities that you encounter on the street has clearly increased.
Yet, a lot still needs to be done. "Roughly one in 20 people in Japan has some disability or another," writes Tomoko Otake in the Japan Times today. "But where are they? ... most Japanese quite likely live their whole lives without ever interacting with their disabled fellow citizens." What needs to be done? Read Is 'Disability' Still a Dirty Word in Japan?
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