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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 July 17 - 23  > JCP election broadcast most friendly to voters with hearing impairment
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2019 July 17 - 23 [JCP]

JCP election broadcast most friendly to voters with hearing impairment

July 20, 2019

The Japanese Communist Party works hard to make election campaigns friendly to voters with hearing impairments by such means as creating campaign videos with both subtitles and sign language interpretation.

In the campaign for the July 21 House of Councilors election, a JCP supporters’ group surveyed campaign videos of all political party candidates broadcasted in Tokyo and six neighboring prefectures. Those videos were found to have none, either, or both of the two deaf accessibility options. The supporters’ group found that the JCP and Komei Party are the only two parties all whose candidates made videos with both.

In order to ensure full participation in politics for people with hearing difficulties, campaign videos need to have both subtitles and sign language interpretation. This is because some hearing impaired voters prefer sign language to subtitles while others do not use sign.

Campaign videos are required to follow the regulations set by law as they are broadcast at public expense. Until 1995, those videos had not been allowed to include subtitles nor sign language. A sign language interpreter was allowed for the first time ever in the proportional representation block in the 1995 House of Councilors election. The July 21 election is the first Upper House election where videos with subtitles and/or sign language interpretation were allowed to be used in election campaigns at the district level.

The JCP has long demanded that all campaign videos incorporate subtitles and sign language. As a result of the JCP effort and public movements by people with hearing impairment, rules on election broadcast were gradually improved, and more and more videos have the accessibility options, although they are not compulsory. JCP Dietmember Miyamoto Takeshi at a House of Representatives Budget Committee meeting in March 2018 requested that campaign videos be required to have both subtitles and sign language at least in national elections.
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