Understanding Disability

SoftBank Corp. offers a special “Heart Friend Discount” which provides customers with disabilities with a discount on basic usage fees and other benefits, enabling them to use services with peace of mind. We also provide other services that cater for people with various disabilities, including a help desk where customers can communicate through sign language.

Providing a comfortable working environment for
people with disabilities

Reduced working hours program

We have partnered with the University of Tokyo's Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in the area of assistive technology to introduce a reduced working hours program that allows people who have difficulty working for long hours due to a disability to work up to 20 hours a week. This new employment program is aimed at people who are willing to work but who have lacked opportunities because they are unable to work the 20 hours a week minimum required for inclusion in the statutory employment rate for people with disabilities.

Promoting the ultra-short working hour system to create a society where people can work as they wish

The Activities of Special Olympics Nippon

In order to spread the short-time work system in society and create a society where diverse people can live together, we have launched the Short-Time Work Alliance, which is promoted through industry-academia collaboration. With the cooperation of many companies and local governments, we will contribute to the creation of a society where everyone can play an active role in their own way.

Facilitating use by a wide range of customers

We provide a special “Heart Friend Discount” which provides customers with disabilities with a discount on basic usage fees and other benefits in order to encourage the wide-ranging use of SoftBank mobile phones by people with disabilities as a tool to help them to communicate more fully and participate in society. By combining this Heart Friend Discount with our normal payment plans, they can use services at lower prices than usual.

Mirairo ID can be used in place of disability certificate

The Activities of Special Olympics Nippon

To apply for the HeartFriend Discount, you will need to show your disability certificate, but you can use the “Mirairo ID” application for smartphones provided by Mirairo Inc. in place of your disability certificate.

Supporting the daily lives and social participation of children with disabilities

We provide an assist guide, an application that visually presents things to do and how to do them in daily life. Using children with intellectual or developmental disabilities as an example, the app helps children with problems to see what they need to do and how to do it visually so that they can see what is ahead and be able to do things they could not do on their own.

The “Assistive Guide” allows parents and supporters to easily create things to do and how to do them, thus reducing the burden on parents and supporters and enabling them to provide detailed support.

Barrier-free communication for all

SoftBank has a number of initiatives grounded on the principle of fostering a kinder society where there is no communication gap between the hearing impaired and the people they interact with.

Game de Manaberu Shuwa Jiten: a sign language app

A Sign Language Dictionary You Can Play as a Game

Originating from a wish to foster a social environment that enables barrier-free communication for all, SoftBank offers a sign language app called Game de Asoberu Shuwa Jiten (meaning “A Sign Language Dictionary You Can Play as a Game”). The app encompasses approximately 3,000 signs which can be viewed from 360 degrees in 3D animations*1 that are based on actual captured gestures.

The app was developed to promote greater interest in sign language not just for regular users, but also for people who often come into contact with the hearing impaired, such as school teachers and hospitality workers. Through this we aim to help raise people's level of interest in sign language.

This application became the first sign language app to be recommended by the Tokyo Federation of Deaf. In addition, it received the Silver Award at the IAUD Awards 2014 sponsored by the International Association for Universal Design.

  1. *1
    A special camera is used to capture the actual movements of a person, and this motion data is applied to 3D characters.
  2. *
    Android has been added to the supported models from May 2020.

Sign language counter and video support system

Sign Language Support Service

SoftBank Shibuya features a Sign Language Counter where customers with hearing impairments can inquire about mobile handsets and easily handle contract procedures. Sign-language-proficient staff are stationed at the counter and provide guidance on anything from handset choice and operation, to price plans and subscription sign up procedures. Written material is also available for customers who do not use sign language. In December 2010, our Sign Language Support service was launched, providing a video conference system to connect the Sign Language Counter to a further 11 SoftBank stores.

Telephone relay service

We have introduced the Telephone Relay Service to help secure and improve the accessibility to telecommunication services and means of communication for people with disabilities. This service enables people with hearing or speech difficulties to communicate with the other party of the call by interpreting “sign language” or text and voice through a sign language interpreter operator. The service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in both directions, and can also be used to contact emergency call centers.
In addition, the telephone relay service system requires all telephone companies to share the cost of providing this service, and we ask our customers who use our cell phone service, IP phone service, direct dialing service to pay the telephone relay service fee.

Telephone relay service fee (In Japanese)

Homepage of the Nippon Foundation Telephone Relay Service (In Japanese)

  1. *
    Institutionalization as public infrastructure

Koe-Tora, an app that supports people with hearing disabilities

Koe-Tora, an app that supports people with hearing disabilities

In order to support people with disabilities to communicate more fully and play a larger role in society, we are aiding the development of Koe-Tora, an app that supports people with hearing disabilities provided by FEAT Limited.

Koe-Tora can play text inputted by people with hearing disabilities out loud as speech and display the speech produced by their conversation partner as text, enabling smooth communication support using only a smart phone or similar device.

  1. *
    As of July 31, 2017, we are no longer providing KoemojiTalk. We will continue to encourage the use of Koetora as an initiative to support communication for the hearing impaired.

Offering everyone the discovery of town walks and tourism

Furatto An-nai (Tourist Guide)

SoftBank added a service that provides information about barrier-free tourism to the Furatto An-nai (Tourist Guide) application, using GPS positioning data to prompt it to provide local sightseeing information. Our goal is to help individuals with special needs maximize their sightseeing experience. As a first step, with the cooperation of the NPO Japan Barrier-Free Tourism Promotion Organization, we launched a service called Barrier-free Tourism in Iseshima, Mie Prefecture. In the future, we plan to expand the coverage area of the Furatto An-nai (Tourist Guide)*4 application and offer barrier-free tourism information for more and more locations.

  1. *4
    Furatto An-nai (Tourist Guide) is a free app that provides barrier-free service information for tourists. Downloading the application may incur separate communication charges.

Special Olympics sponsor

The Activities of Special Olympics Nippon

Special Olympics is a global sports organization that offers a variety of year-round training opportunities and competitions for people with intellectual disabilities. As a nonprofit organization, Special Olympics is run by volunteers and sustained by charitable donations.

SoftBank has sponsored the activities of Special Olympics Nippon since the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Nagano.

As a sponsor, we provided personal handy-phone system (PHS) technology for use during Special Olympics events. The low electromagnetic wave technology of PHS was well-received as a safe and effective method of communication, and was utilized both by event staff and for emergency communications with on-the-ground physicians to respond to athlete illness and injury.