Japan's first severely disabled lawmakers join parliament [BBC News]

August 2, 2019 BBC News

Two politicians have taken their seats in Japan's parliament as the first lawmakers with severe disabilities.

Yasuhiko Funago and Eiko Kimura are both largely paralysed and rely on carers for their physical needs.
Disability rights II  Disbility rights

Their election last month has been seen as major step for representation and the visibility of disabled people in Japan.

The upper house underwent special modifications to allow for their access.

After entering through the main gate of the National Diet via a special ramp, the two took their seats for the first time on Thursday to cheers from supporters.

Who are they?

Yasuhiko Funago has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, and communicates using a computer system or through his carers.

The 61-year old was diagnosed with the progressive neurological disease in 2000 and since then has lost more and more mobility in his limbs.

"I am full of emotions that this moment has arrived," Mr Funago said after his election in July. "I may appear weak, but I have more guts than others as it has been a matter of life and death for me."

Eiko Kimura has cerebral palsy and is paralysed from her neck down except for her right hand.

She has had the disability since she was eight months old but has long promoted better integration of disabled people into society.

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