by Kojima, the lawyer (translated by Nakamura)

Date of presentation: May 27th , 2003
Recipient: Japan Federation of Bar Associations (the Human Rights Section 1)
Presenter: forty-three children and sixty-four parents
Attorney: the lawyers (Kojima, Chiba, Hoshi and Tanaka) at the Center for Protection of Children's Human Rights, The Tokyo Bar Association

The aim of the petition (the full text )
  1. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will recognize and approve Japanese sign language (JSL) as a language of instruction and practice lessons at deaf schools using JSL in order to protect the presenters who are infringed on their rights of receiving education, learning (Article 26 of the Constitution), and equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) because they cannot receive education in JSL at deaf schools.
  2. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science will do the following so that lessons at deaf schools are practiced in JSL.
  1. To post teachers who can understand and use JSL to deaf schools appropriately. To give JSL training regularly and continually to teachers who cannot understand or use it.
  2. To set the subjects of JSL in both theory and practice at the teacher-training course for deaf schools in each university. To require students who want to be a teacher of deaf schools to take the subjects of JSL in both theory and practice.
The actual circumstances of the petition ( the points )
  • JSL is the first language and the mother tongue for deaf children (deaf people).
  • Deaf children's potential will be fully brought out by using JSL as the language of instruction.
  • The right to receive education in JSL is secured by the Constitution.
  • However, deaf schools apply the"aural-oral approach" which uses spoken Japanese.
  • The infringement upon human rights is happening daily in deaf schools. This cannot be ignored.
  • The main cause of the infringement is the basic policy of deaf education by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, which states "making good use of the sense of hearing"as the first aim.
  • Other causes of the infringement are the structural problems in the deaf education system. (These are the system of the teacher's certificates, the posting of teachers, and the teachers' level of proficiency in JSL.)
  • However, there are deaf children and their parents who request the education (school lessons) in JSL.
  • Therefore it is urgent to recognize JSL as a language of instruction and to prepare the system in order to materialize lessons in JSL at deaf schools.
Some points of special emphasis about the petition
  1. The fact that no deaf schools teach JSL to students at present.
  2. There is a misunderstanding that students of deaf schools are less able.
  3. The fact that most teachers at deaf schools cannot understand or use JSL.
  4. JSL proficiency is not required to become a teacher of deaf schools.
  5. Deaf children and their parents have not had the opportunity to appeal the fact of infringement upon their human rights to the general public until present.
  6. JSL is a language with its own grammar.
  7. The petition does not deny using signed Japanese and oral Japanese in deaf education. It requests to secure the right to choose education in JSL because there are deaf children and their parents who need it.

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