Statement by Mr. Naoto Hisajima
Minister, Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations
at the Fifth Session of the Conference of State Parties
to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
14 September 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
My delegation is honored to participate as a signatory in this fifth session of the Conference of State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Japan participated actively in negotiations to draft the Convention and signed it in 2007. Since then, Japan has been in the process of preparing the conclusion of the Convention. Today, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you the positive measures we have taken over the last few years.
Firstly, Japan amended its Basic Law for Persons with Disabilities in July 2011, which includes the negligence of ensuring to provide necessary and reasonable accommodation as a form of discrimination based on disabilities. This is the first example of the legal concept of ‘reasonable accommodation’ to be included in our domestic body of law. Also under this amended law, the “Commission on Policy for Persons with Disabilities” was established in May 2012, the function of which includes oversight of the implementation of domestic policies. Persons with disabilities are included in this Commission as members.
Several concrete measures were announced in June 2012 to contribute to the improvement of the domestic system in relation to person with disabilities. For example, the new legal employment rate for persons with disabilities in private companies will be raised from 1.8% to 2.0% after April 2013, and the firms which will be obligated to employ at least one person with disabilities was revised from companies employing “56 employees or more” to those with “50 employees or more”. With this revision, the legal employment rate of persons with disabilities in the national and local government is expected to rise from 2.1% to 2.3%.
One of the themes of the round tables at this session is “Children with Disabilities”, and in the context of education, a report from the consultative committee to the Ministry of Education was submitted in July 2012, based on the idea of an “inclusive education system” as stipulated in Article 24 of the Convention. The report includes measures for the promotion of education for children with disabilities such as a process to help students choose a school to enter, and the improvement of “reasonable accommodations” for students with disabilities. The Government will consider measures based on this report to promote the education for children with disabilities.
Regarding international cooperation, Japan attaches great importance on the symbiosis between persons with disabilities and their communities in developing countries as one component of ODA (Official Development Assistance). The Government of Japan has been making wide contributions in Asia, Africa, Middle-East, South and Central America and Pacific Countries and others to promote, for example, “barrier-free” railway facilities and airports, establish rehabilitation and vocational training facilities, and has been receiving trainees from abroad and dispatching experts overseas.
Last but not least, a UN Expert Group Meeting on Information and Communication Technology was held in Japan, in April 2012, by UNDESA in collaboration with the UN Information Center and the Nippon Foundation. At this meeting it was reported that persons with disabilities were isolated from information at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. As a result, the importance developing ICT accessibility in field of disaster prevention measures was seriously recognized.
The High Level Meeting on persons with disabilities will be held in 2013. Taking advantage of the increasing momentum for persons with disabilities, Japan will continue to make further efforts to protect and promote the rights of persons with disabilities at the national and international levels. I thank you for your kind attention.