• Kyodo

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The National Police Agency on Thursday released a plan to allow hearing aid-dependent people to obtain a license required for driving taxis and buses in Japan.

The agency will revise the ordinance of the road traffic law, which will be open to public comment until Nov. 21 before taking effect April 1.

“We have made a step forward in expanding the occupational field for hearing-impaired people,” said Masashi Matsumoto, director at the Japanese Federation of the Deaf, in welcoming the plan.

“We will tackle an enlightenment campaign to have people understand that there is no problem with hearing-aid users’ driving,” he said. “In the future, we would like to pave the way for anyone to get that kind of license irrespective of hearing aid use.”

The revision will ease the existing prerequisite to obtaining a second-class license of being able to hear a 90-decibel horn 10 meters away without a hearing aid.

The move comes two years after tests by the agency, in cooperation with groups of hearing-impaired people, found no safety issues with them driving vehicles.

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