We hope that this finds you all well.
At the end of last year, the Chancellor of Ritsumeikan issued a very important statement on diversity and inclusion, promoting reasonable accommodation. In a positive response to this, Institute of Ars Vivendi has announced the following message on 21 January 2021.
We welcome “Chancellor's Statement - Toward the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion”
Institute of Ars Vivendi welcomes and strongly supports the “Chancellor’s Statement – Toward the Promotion of Diversity and Inclusion”, issued on 23 December 2020 and pledges to do its best to make it a reality.
We are delighted to find the reference to reasonable accommodation in the statement. Reasonable accommodation, meaning “necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments”, is a concept that was created to combat discrimination regarding religion and later developed in the disability field. It has been widely recognized around the world through the implementation of Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). In Japan, the Act to Eliminate Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, enacted in compliance with CRPD, is a legally mandated.
But beyond law, international or domestic, we do believe that reasonable accommodation has a much potential as a tool for us to live with difference among diverse members of our community. Internationally, reasonable accommodation has been provided based on a number of differences, such as sex, gender, and family status including child care, in addition to religion and disability.
Institute of Ars Vivendi commits to promote diversity and inclusion at Ritsumeikan based on the Chancellor’s Statement, through our academic activities, including research on reasonable accommodation, and practice of its provision.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide, in his Policy Speech at the Diet (parliament) on 18 January 2021, announced his polity intention that his government would legally mandate the provision of reasonable accommodation to the private sector through the revision of the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities. The Act was enacted in 2013 as a national harmonization measure for Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Japan ratified CRPD only after the passage of this Act, because of the pressure from the disability community that had asked for the clear legal framework regarding prohibition of disability discrimination including reasonable accommodation.
The English translation of PM’s Policy Statement covering reasonable accommodation, however, has some issues. Currently it reads “We will request private-sector companies to give reasonable consideration to people with disabilities.”.
Under the current Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, private sector is already “requested” to provide reasonable accommodation. One of the key revisions on the table is to legally mandate the provision of reasonable accommodation to private sector, including private universities and colleges. There is also an obvious incorrect translation regarding reasonable accommodation. A more faithful translation of the sentence, therefore, would be “We will require private-sector companies to provide reasonable accommodation to persons with disabilities”.
For the promotion of diversity and inclusion within Ritsumeikan and beyond, Institute of Ars Vivendi, finds the Chancellors’ Statement and PM’s Policy Speech on reasonable accommodation, both positive and encouraging steps in the right direction.
Do take good care and stay safe.