I. - 1. Formulation of the "New Long-Term Programme for Government Measures for Disabled Persons"

The "New Long-Term Programme" is defined as a "basic plan for persons with disabilities" formulated under the Disabled Persons Fundamental Law and its goal is "full participation and equality" based on the philosophy of "Rehabilitation and Normalization with consideration to the human rights of persons with disabilities". In order to achieve this goal the "New Long-Term Programme" presented some fundamental principles such as "establishment of identity and independence of persons with disabilities," "creation of an all-inclusive society with the participation of persons with disabilities and those without disabilities, where all people are able to live a normal life in the same way as each other," "measures responding to high degrees of disability and aging of persons with disabilities" and "measures corresponding to the "Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons." Following these fundamental policies, the Government promotes measures supporting the independence and social participation of persons with disabilities. In addition, the fundamental principles outlined in the "New Long-Term Programme" are being adopted as common basic issues of all programmes for promoting measures for persons with disabilities, starting with the "Government Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities."

In regards to a "barrier-free environment," the "New Long-Term Programme" presented the concept of "Four Barriers," defined as "physical barriers in transportation facilities and buildings, system barriers due to qualification limitations, culture and information barriers due to insufficiency in assistive devices such as braille system and sign language, and psychological barriers due to stereo-typed thinking that persons with disabilities need to be protected and supported." These barriers exist in the social environment surrounding persons with disabilities, and the "New Long-Term Programme" states that the government is advancing various measures steadily toward the elimination of those barriers.

Awareness in regards to physical barriers has expanded way beyond the area of housing facilities to cover public buildings and facilities, public transportation facilities, private buildings as well as the modalities for urban planning. In order to advance the elimination of barriers in public buildings "Act on Buildings Accessible and Usable for the Elderly and Physically Disabled" was established in 1994; and in the area of transportation the "Transportation Accessibility Improvement Law" was established in 2000. These and other measures represented advancement of physically barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities. Furthermore, the government actively supports comprehensive and systematic urban development projects that are being implemented all over the country, with the view that urban planning should be changed to make it usable and accessible for persons with disabilities and to give them the opportunity for independence and active social participation.

The licensing system and the reasons for disqualification from National Examinations are pointed out as example of systemic barriers. Various qualifying tests have disqualification reasons and several of these are due to reason of disability. In order to eliminate this barrier, an overall review of the 63 systems that have disqualifying articles for persons with disabilities will be completed within the duration of the Plan.

In regards to the issue of culture and information barriers given in terms of communication difficulties due to visual and hearing impairments arose, measures such as providing information by sign language interpreters, audio-tapes and brailed books; ensuring of teletext broadcasting and subtitle broadcasting; establishing information service facilities for producing and lending video-tapes of TV programs followed by captions or sign language are well-advanced.

In regards to the issue of psychological barriers, measures for improvement of welfare education as well as intensive public awareness activities, mainly through Persons with Disabilities Day (December 9th) designated by the Disabled Persons Fundamental Law, are being implemented.

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