Japan Press Weekly
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6,500 rally against disabled persons eself-supportf law
On October 31, about 6,500 people took part in a rally in Tokyo calling for the abolition of the law to gassist self-supporth of the disabled.
Participants spoke how disabled peoplefs living conditions have been destroyed by the law that requires them to pay for the services they use.
The rally adopted an appeal calling for the law to be revised to protect disabled peoplefs rights.
Representatives of political parties gave speeches.
Japanese Communist Party House of Councilors member Koike Akira said, gThe government is attempting to make minor amendments to the law, but it cannot allay public anger because the foundation of the law is the very problem because it imposes heavier burdens on those who have more serious disabilities. Tax money allocated to supporting the stationing of U.S. forces in Japan under the name of a esympathy budgetf must be used for people with disabilities. Let us join hands to have the law abolished.h
After the rally, participants marched in demonstration and made representations to the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry.
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On the same day, 31 people filed lawsuits in eight district courts throughout Japan claiming that the gbeneficiary-pays systemh under the gself-supporth assistance law is in contravention of the Constitution that guarantees equality under the law.
They incldue 29 disabled people and a parent of a person with disability living in Tokyo, Kyoto, and six other prefectures.
The gbeneficiary-pays systemh requires disabled people to pay 10 percent of the cost for the services they use. The more serious disabilities they have, the more they have to pay.
The plaintiffs say that the system takes away disabled peoplefs constitutional right to live (Article 25) and right to pursue happiness (Article 13) as well as undermines equality under the law (Article 14).
October 31 was the third anniversary since the gself-supporth assistance law was enacted in 2005 with approval of the ruling Liberal Democratic and Komei parties. The Japanese Communist, Democratic, and Social Democratic voted against it. It came into force on April 1, 2006. - Akahata, November 1, 2008
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