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Time Card Systems for Users in Facilities for People with Disabilities in Japan: From the Point of View of 'Nothing About Us Without Us'

YASUHARA Soichi (Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, JAPAN)@2015/11/30
East Asia Disability Studies Forum 2015 in Beijing

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last update: 20151125

¡Introduction

Many of the facilities for people with disabilities in Japan, for example, independent life support centers (CIL-Center for independent Living) and employment support facilities (regular employment type gAh, welfare employment typehBh = gold workplaceh system) currently utilize a system that requires users of the facility to use a time card at the time of entry and exit (= a time card system for users).(See photo).
Since the enactment of the Services and Support for Disabilities Act, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and local governments have been seeking to "report the correct usage time" in each facility. However, to the extent that I have been able to determine no notice or guidance concerning the introduction of a time card system for users has been officially documented by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare or local governments. But time card systems for users have already been put in place by many facilities for people with disabilities in Japan on their own.

ŸPoint 1: Issues concerning current Japanese disability policy and time card systems for users.

ESince the enactment of the Services and Supports for Persons with Disabilities Act the state has positioned the human rights of people with disabilities within the principles of free competition, and attempted to control these people through subsidies. The gaccurate reporting of usage timeh has been made mandatory.

ŸPoint 2: How the time card system for users was introduced (based on interviews with facility staff).

EIt was gautonomouslyh introduced by staff for the "accurate grasp of usage time" and the "rationalizationh of their office work. They say they obtained "user consent.h
EWhen it comes to the current user time card system, many people say, "It's natural,h gItfs rationalh, or "What's the problem?"
EBut it is also a fact that many facilities for people with disabilities have not introduced this system and many users dislike it.

ŸPoint 3: There has been talk that these systems have been introduced as a measure against gfraudulent receipt of subsidiesh

EPut simply, these systems are not useful in preventing gfraudulent receipt of subsidiesh

ŸMy opinion:

EIn places such as facilities for people with a disability, the autonomy and assertiveness of users should be recognised to the greatest possible extent. It is wrong to employ inhuman methods of control reliant on machines. Was any consideration given to users when staff created these systems? Where has "Nothing About us Without US!,h the slogan of the international disability movement, gone when it comes to facilities for people with disabilities in Japan?
This kind of system in other countries:
In the case of Italy and the city of Boston in the United States, such a system does not exist. Time card systems for users might be a guniquely Japaneseh social phenomenon, related to the high value placed on "time discipline in this societyh

¡Conclusion

Needless to say, technology has emancipated a lot of people with disabilities. However, many social scientists have issued warnings that modern society is becoming a "super-controlled society.h Are we not being forced into "voluntary submission" by the user time card system?

In any case, we always need to go back to the beginning, fNothing About Us Without Us!f


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