In a first, two politicians facing severe disabilities have made their way into Japan’s parliament.
Regarded as a major development for representation of the disabled in Japan’s society of lawmaking, Yasuhiko Funago and Eiko Kimura are paralyzed and dependent on care takers.
The two entered the main gate of the National diet, taking their seat for the first time in the upper house of the parliament, amid applause and cheers from supporters. The parliament underwent special modifications to make this change possible.
Renovation work in order to provide a barrier free accessibility, were among some of the modifications made by the parliament. The episode is not one of the first which saw politicians using wheelchair in the senate, although Funago and Kimura are the first ones to be severely disabled. The new development also allows the care takers to be present during the sessions.
According to reports, Yasuhiko Funago is a patient of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He was diagnosed with the neurological issue since 2000, due to which he has lost increasing mobility of his limbs. He can allegedly only communicate through a computer system or with the help of his care takers.
“I am full of emotions that this moment has arrived,” said the 61-year old, Funago with regards to his election in July. “I may appear weak, but I have more guts than others as it has been a matter of life and death for me.”
On the other hand, Eiko Kimura, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, which has paralysed her from neck down, except for her right hand. She is been suffering since she was eight.
The new lawmakers have created history in Japan’s politics. They ran for Reiwa Shinsengumi, a small left oriented opposition party. It was founded by actor-politician Taro Yamamoto.
The party’s norms dictates inclusion of people, while especially focusing on those who are overlooked in Japan’s traditional society. The other party candidates includes single parents and part-time workers, among others.
Japan’s cabinet office records a number of 9.63 million disabled people in the country.