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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 June 6 - 12  > JCP Yamashita calls for making TV more accessible to visually and hearing impaired persons
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2018 June 6 - 12 [POLITICS]

JCP Yamashita calls for making TV more accessible to visually and hearing impaired persons

June 10, 2018

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Councilors Yamashita Yoshiki on June 7 at a House committee meeting demanded that TV accessibility be improved for people with vision and/or hearing disabilities.

At the House Internal Affairs Committee meeting which discussed the annual financial report of Japan’s sole public broadcaster, NHK, Yamashita said that NHK should allocate more of its budget to enable blind and deaf people to enjoy TV programs through various services such as closed captioning, signing language, and audio description.

In 2016, the public broadcaster provided closed captioning and audio descriptions on 94.7% and 12.5% of its programs, respectively.

Audio description, also known as visual description, is a supplementary track consisting of a narrator describing important visual details and what is happening on the screen that people who are blind or vision-restricted are unable to perceive from the main soundtrack alone.

Yamashita stressed that as visual description is vital for visually-impaired persons to have full access to television, NHK should increase the portion of programs providing this service.

Yamashita referred to the fact that the percentage of NHK programs with sign language interpretation stood at only 0.12% of the total. Citing the fact that the BBC has achieved its goal of turning 5% of its program contents into ones with signing, Yamashita said that NHK should do likewise.

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Noda Seiko in reply said that given that Japan is an aging society, assistive technologies, including closed captioning, in-vision signing, and audio description, should be applied to more and more television shows.
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