Organized Panel Session
As Tokyo prepares to host the 2020 Paralympics, with the city aiming to have all subway stations equipped with multipurpose elevators by March 2019, Japan still faces significant issues regarding the understanding and treatment of people with disabilities and organizations who deal with them. While the shocking stabbing deaths in 2016 of 19 disabled people at a facility in Sagamihara briefly highlighted some issues concerning social stigmas, anonymity, and press treatment, there remain multiple questions concerning changing understandings in a society where disability is widely associated with shame. Whilst the disability rights movement since the 1970s has helped bring about major improvements in the legal status of persons with disabilities in Japan, there remain barriers to integration, education, and social acceptance.
This panel explores the characteristics, determinants, and limits of disabled people’s social integration in contemporary Japan. Disability in contemporary Japanese society can be viewed through multiple lenses and this panel integrates multidisciplinary perspectives to focus on the variety of experiences of people with disabilities. In examining issues including identity and belonging, sexuality and gender, networks and community development, and education, the panel includes personal approaches to disability—through autoethnography and tōjisha kenkyū (self-directed studies)—and those that highlight communities of disabled persons in employment and educational settings.