News from Japan
Disability Movement Won a Moderate Improvement of Support Act for Independence of Disabled Persons in Japan
PWDs in Japan launched 15,000 person demonstration around the Diet on October 31, 2006 to protest so-called Support Act for Independence of Disabled Persons in Japan. Mass media also widely reported problems of this act. Some representatives of Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) â€“ a ruling party in the Diet â€“ were afraid of this issue being a disadvantage of coming Upper House election in this summer and, hence, demanded both Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) and Ministry of Finance to reduce self-pay ratio to have services in the Act. We also lobbied to influential representatives of LDP. As a result, we won agreement with MHLW on December 30 to reduce self-pay ratio in service use from 10% to 2.5%.
We also won to rise the basis of minimum annual income for service payment waiver from \1 million to \6 million so that most of PWDs in Japan will have waiver. Under 10% self-pay ratio, PWD staff of Human Care Association have to pay \37,200 every month. After modification, our payment will be reduced to one-fourth â€“ \9,300 per month. This modification is significantly reduce our burden because our average monthly income is \160,000.
Our remaining problem was 20% decrease of income for necessary expenses for IL center management. To this problem, our movement brought result in limiting the shrink to 10%. Repetition of reduction of public payment for personal assistance services, however, has put management of IL center into harsh conditions. Hence, we IL centers will support each other and continue our negotiation with city and prefecture governments in order not to stop services.