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UAE fact-finding mission aims to bolster Japanese links to promote inclusive society

22 Oct 2019
The shinkansen, known in English as the bullet train, passes through the station in Hamamatsu on September 26, 2019. (AFP)
The shinkansen, known in English as the bullet train, passes through the station in Hamamatsu on September 26, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 26 Oct 2019
22 Oct 2019

Staff Writer

An influential Emirati fact-finding team has hailed the high standard of facilities in Japan for blind and visually impaired people.

Experts from the UAE praised the level of services available after carrying out a detailed survey in the country.

“I felt I could go anywhere by myself in Japan with the facilities that are provided to support the visually impaired,” said Hisham Al-Wahedi, Braille checker at the UAE’s Zayed Higher Organization (ZHO) for People of Determination, after his recent visit.

Al-Wahedi was part of a mission to Japan to gain insights into how to create a more inclusive society for people faced with physical challenges. The 10-member delegation, headed by ZHO Secretary-General Abdullah Al-Humaidan, was organized in June by the Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE).

“The whole mission was an invaluable experience to see how Japan promotes an inclusive society,” said Al-Humaidan.

Besides several other engagements, the delegates witnessed how Braille blocks for guiding the visually impaired were installed in areas surrounding Tokyo station.

The ZHO team also met key Japanese researchers, service providers, experts and policymakers involved in devising and implementing programs for an inclusive society in Japan. The UAE is on a mission of its own to empower people with disabilities and make the Middle Eastern country more inclusive. 

During their visit, members of the ZHO delegation were given a presentation at the Japanese Cabinet Office on the country’s laws concerning people with disabilities, which aim to create a symbiotic society through the mutual respect of diverse individuals.

A lecture at the University of Tokyo’s Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology (RCAST) provided the Emiratis with an insight into the challenges faced by deaf and blind people and highlighted the kind of support and solutions offered in Japan that allow people of determination (special educational needs and disabilities) to pursue advanced education.

The delegation also met with executives of Start Line Inc., a Japanese consultancy firm that provides inclusive and progressive business support models to help companies employ people of determination.

One such model is “IBUKI,” centered on the indoor production of vegetables and herbs, that ensures gainful employment of people of determination while allowing them to thrive professionally.

Al-Humaidan said that ZHO would like to further develop links with its Japanese counterparts at various levels, especially as Japan had a rapidly aging society.

“Creating a society where people of determination, the elderly and others enjoy a quality of life is important, and the UAE and Japan share the same values regarding this,” he added.

Shigeto Aoki, general manager of JICE’s Abu Dhabi office, said: “We at JICE are always ready to support the growth of human resources and talents by implementing training and education for international visitors focused on sustainable development.”

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