Japan calls for safety of disabled in disasters

Originally from NHK World June 11th 2014

In its first appearance at a UN conference on the rights of persons with disabilities, Japan has called for ensuring the safety of disabled people during natural disasters.

The meeting of countries that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities began at the UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

The meeting includes delegates from more than 140 nations. Among them are representatives of groups for the disabled.

The convention, which went into effect 6 years ago, aims to prohibit all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities and to promote their participation in all areas of society. Japan formally became party to the treaty this year.

Japan’s ambassador to the UN, Motohide Yoshikawa, said his country has revised some of its laws and enacted a new one to allow people to take legal action in cases of discrimination against the disabled.

He said Japan revised its disaster management law after disabled people suffered disproportionate harm in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The revision mandates the creation of lists of people who need support in case of evacuation.

Japan Disability Forum executive Katsunori Fujii said the ratification of the treaty will help Japan become a more hospitable place for people with disabilities. He said Japan can make a global contribution in such areas as engineering for personal welfare.

The 3-day conference will aim to include support for the disabled in the UN’s list of sustainable development goals.

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