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Candidate with severe disability wins seat in Japan’s upper house

Tokyo Diet Building
Photo: shutterstock.com

Candidate with severe disabilitiy won seats in Japan’s upper house vote on Sunday, a sign of changing attitudes towards persons with disabilities in a country where they have long been encouraged to stay in the shadow.

Daisuke Tenbata, 40, a candidate for the party Reiwa Shinsengumi who conducts research at a university, is assured of winning a proportional representation seat in the House of Councillors election on July 10.

The Reiwa Shinsengumi newcomer is a research fellow at Ritsumeikan University. Tenbata is set to secure a seat through a special quota giving him priority, as his party is guaranteed to win at least one proportional representation seat.

Following medical malpractice, Tenbata was left with a disability at age 14 and uses a wheelchair. He is currently researching assisting persons with disabilities as they work.

During the previous 2019 upper house election, Reiwa Shinsengumi candidates Yasuhiko Funago and Eiko Kimura, who both have severe disabilities, also garnered seats. Their victory spurred efforts by the Diet to remove barriers, such as establishing a slope so wheelchair users can go onto the chamber platform and implementing a sign language interpreter for online live broadcasts.

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