Activity Report from Japan
Lawsuit against a reduction of service hours in transition from System to Provide Supportive Costs to Law to Support Independence of the Disabled
1. Case in Ota-ku in Tokyo
Mr. M of Ota-ku in Tokyo had received 124 hours of weekly public support on personal assistance service under the System to Provide Supportive Costs (Shien hi seido). In transition to Law to Support Independence of the Disabled (Jiritsu shien ho), however, Ota-ku public office reduced its support for personal assistance service for outing to 42 hours per week despite there was no difference in his physical condition. Court pointed out unfairness regarding to this reduction, and Mr. M substantially gained a case. Then, public support for PA service for Mr. M, even though it was not enough, recovered to 90 hours per month.
2. Case in F city in Iwate prefecture
Ms. A has disability from cerebral palsy and cannot use her both hands. She had received public support from F city office for 165-hour personal assistance service per month. F city office, however, suddenly noticed her reduction of support as excess to standard hours.
Ms. A with her lawyer sued the city office and one year and half later won recovery of public support to previous level. After the loss to this case, F city office stopped sending notification of reduction of support to other service users.
Both cases imply that we can basically win lawsuit for recovery of public support to the level to which determined before the establishment of the System to Provide Supportive Costs. We also learnt that team action is very important in lawsuit. Excellent lawyers gathered information and prepared difficult texts for legal action. Many members of independent living centers and other PWD organizations supported the cases in fund-raise and participated into courtroom as audience to gain impression from judge.
We can assume that winning case in Ota-ku also influenced following cases in F city and others. Several city offices now make decision on amount of support with respect for PWDs’ needs on personal assistance service to avoid the risk of losing lawsuit.
Human Care Association