To get a sense of how the current COVID-19 pandemic is affecting non-Japanese people with disabilities in Japan, The Japan Times sat in on a conversation between two academics with disabilities themselves, Mark Bookman and Michael Gillan Peckitt, who are currently grappling with the situation firsthand. We asked them to introduce themselves before handing over the discussion.
Michael: I am an academic living in Kobe and I work at Osaka University. I have cerebral palsy and, while I can get around with the aid of a walking stick, I have very little movement in the left side of my body.
My disability also requires me to go to a hospital every three months to pick up medication and, since this whole coronavirus panic kicked off, I am worried that public transport could be suspended if there’s some sort of lockdown. That would eventually leave me without the medication I need to stay in good health.