Message from the National Council on Disability Affairs

The National Council on Disability Affairs, extends its utmost sympathy and support to the thousands of Japanese people devastated by the onslaught of the 8.9 earthquake last Friday, March 11, 2011. The tidal waves this triggered on the northeast of Japan claimed thousands of lives and left many thousands more fighting for survival. As reported, and needless to say, hundreds of persons with disabilities were among the first to perish and suffer, being among the most vulnerable groups in the country.

We also convey our full support to the initiatives of the Japan Disability Forum (JDF) composed of 13 Disabled People’s Organizations from all over Japan, for setting up an emergency relief center to evacuate and assist helpless victims with disabilities. This is under the selfless leadership of Mr. Shoji Nakanishi, the Director elect of the said center, presently operating in the Japan Council of Independent Living Center.

In this light, the Council enjoins various Japan government instrumentalities to extend all possible assistance to the abovementioned initiatives to ensure that interventions are properly provided to persons with disabilities, as called for in Article 11 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This Article states that States Parties shall take, in accordance with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law, all necessary measures to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities in situations of risk, including situations of armed conflict, humanitarian emergencies and the occurrence of natural disasters. Although Japan is not a signatory to this Convention, we fully understand the high regard of its government to its citizens with disabilities, on their protection and security.

Our sincerest sympathy and support to our Japanese partners and friends in their selfless and undaunted recovery efforts.