National / Crime & Legal

Japanese law to boost support for developmentally disabled people revised

Kyodo

The Diet enacted legislation Wednesday to boost support for people with developmental disabilities, such as those with autism and learning disabilities, to help eliminate social barriers in such areas as education and employment.

It is the first revision of the law on support for people with developmental disabilities, which took effect in 2005.

The revised law encourages schools to compile learning plans individually for children with such disabilities depending on their health condition and municipality offices to secure jobs for them to help their independence.

Developmental disabilities, including attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder and Asperger’s syndrome, cause difficulties in certain areas of daily life, such as communication, but symptoms vary depending on the individual.

According to a survey compiled in 2012 by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 6.5 percent of students in elementary and junior high schools in Japan possibly suffer from developmental difficulties.

The difficulties can be detected early on, and early case detection and support are important for them.

The revised law stipulates support to enable students with developmental disorders to learn together with regular students, encouraging schools to set individual learning targets and education methods for them and compile measures to prevent them for being targeted for bullying.

To encourage employment for such people, the revised law requires the central and prefectural governments to support those with said difficulties to obtain and keep jobs.

The legislation also requires support for communication when people with developmental disabilities go through trials or face criminal investigations to prevent unfair treatment.