Event Report: Seminars on Systems/Policies concerning Survival "Disability/Society" No.3 "Framework of the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination"

published: 2014-10-20 Japanese:日本語版へ

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On July 18 (Fri.), Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University organized the third seminar in the "Systems and Policies concerning Survival: Disability and Society" series entitled “Framework of the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination". The seminar was held in the Multipurpose Room (L) of Suzaku Campus, Ritsumeikan University, and witnessed the participation of about 25 people, both students and the general public.

The seminar was comprised of two parts, and for Part I, we invited as lecturer Takanori Sai of the DPI Japan Council, who gave his lecture entitled 'Framework of the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination' First of all, Sai gave an account of the premises the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination is based on by elaborating on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities, explaining that life conditions of persons with disabilities across the globe prompted the opinion that such a convention is needed. He also touched on the 'social model of disability' that has been laid out in the Convention, as well as concepts of 'discrimination based on disability' and 'reasonable accommodation' that have been defined in Article 2 of the Convention. He added that Japan's Disabled Persons' Fundamental Act was revised in 2011 to make it possible for the country to ratify the CRPD with many additions based on the Convention made. Thus in the general provisions, there was an addition of definition of 'social barrier' and prohibition of discrimination, while various articles in the main body of the Law stipulated many areas programs have to be established in to ensure barrier-free access to medical care, employment, housing, etc. Sai concluded the lecture with a classification of discrimination given in the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination explaining the types listed there with concrete examples.

In Part II, led by facilitator Ms. Megumi Matsunami, full-time researcher at the Kyoto Human Rights Research Institute, the participants conducted a case study based on actual examples. The participants divided into three groups for every case to be examined and discussed each of the situations presented, which were set up at workplaces or in public transportation facilities, debating whether the case under review is discrimination or not, for what reasons the situation should be classified as one or the other, and whether the disabled were given rational accommodation. Finally, each of the groups made a presentation stating their conclusions and the points made during the discussion.

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So far, three seminars of the series have been held enabling the students of the University, the general public, and people with disabilities/diseases to gain a deeper understanding of the significance of the CRPD on the one hand and the relationship between the revision of the Basic Act for Persons with Disabilities effected in 2011 and the Act on the Elimination of Disability Discrimination. Furthermore, a group discussion of concrete cases, which was conducted this time, became a great opportunity to find a new format for the seminars, enabling the lecturer and the participants to have interactive discussion, which greatly contributed to mutual understanding. It is our wish and intention to continue with this series in the future to provide space for people to gain deeper understanding of new systems and policies concerning the disabled and the sick, as well as to conceive new ideas in this area.

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(Research Center for Ars Vivendi, Ritsumeikan University)

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