College Women's Association of Japan
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February General Meeting – Join our meeting to hear Mark Bookman present to us on the costs and benefits of technological innovation in building a barrier-free Japan

Date: Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 10:00 – 12:00 JST
Venue: Over Zoom
Topic: Building a Barrier-Free Japan with Mark Bookman
Speaker: Mark Bookman
Fee: Free. (Though you may choose to pay an Optional Attendance Fee. CWAJ is a 100% volunteer, not-for-profit organization. Our work is fueled by kind contributions. Please consider offering an attendance fee, no matter how small)
Sign-up: RSVP by noon Monday, 8 February 2021

The preparation, execution, and aftermath of mega events like the Paralympics can create dramatic shifts in disability politics on both local and global scales. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Japan, where the games have driven ‘accessibility booms’ on two separate occasions. Physical and social differences between Japanese para-athletes and their foreign counterparts during the 1964 games triggered a series of events that eventually led activists and policymakers to reshape the nation’s infrastructure by installing elements of barrier-free architecture in the 1970s.

Now, a second wave of accessible development is underway in connection with the 2020 Games, in which domestic pressures like an aging population, declining birthrate, and shrinking workforce are guiding the production of technologies that will transform international ideas about inclusion. Despite these developments, or perhaps because of them, many persons with disabilities remain unable to access education, employment, and other services needed for social participation in Japan.

n his presentation, Mark will use the 1964 and 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo as case studies to consider why activist and legislative interventions do not always help persons with disabilities (and often necessitate further interventions). He will demonstrate how lack of coordination between specialists operating in various fields can create precarious conditions in which persons with disabilities are put at risk. To mitigate such risks and facilitate access, he argues, we must imagine new modes of collaboration.

We look forward to staying connected and informed.

Ingrid Toyoda and Ritsuko Fukawa – 2020 General Meeting Program Coordinators
Michiyo Nakamoto and Caroline Olcott – 2021 General Meeting Program Coordinators


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