NPO ‘Disabled People International’ protests proposed renovations to Nagoya castle’s inaccessibility

Written with extracts from The Mainichi Shimbun

May 10th 2018

Nagoya city opened a “castle tower subcommittee” of experts who considers the wooden restoration plan of the castle tower of Nagoya castle, and indicated a policy proposal that no elevator should be installed in the new castle tower after restoration. The city plans to announce the official conclusion within the month after discussion by the city council, but the draft policy is the de facto conclusion. On the same day, organizations with disabilities sent protests to mayor Takashi Kawamura to urge reconsideration.

The city said, ” We will restore it to the genuine appearance before burning down in the war damage, aim to become a national treasure again,” the way the castle tower is now also means that the wheelchair cannot go up to the 7th floor observation room. In order to restore faithfully to historical facts, no elevators were installed, an examples were cited of special vehicles going in and out directly from the outside, robots that ascend and descend stairs, and attempts to make the castle barrier-free by developing new technologies were made.

In the subcommittee, Mr. Kawabe, president of the Kawachi Building Design Office said, “It is necessary to respond smoothly to the age and of the sex with or without an elevator, we should also consider countermeasures in case of emergency.” However, There was no dissenting opinion. After the termination, Director Shinichi Nishino, director of the city Nagoya Castle Comprehensive Office, said, “As a result of several meetings with the mayor, we will make the best efforts for barrier-free after observing the concept of restoring the castle tower.”

On the other hand, the DPI (Disabled People International) Japan Conference (Tokyo Metropolitan Government), which is an NPO corporation that is affiliated with 97 groups nationwide, sent protests to Mayor Kawamura on the 9th. “We are excluding people with disabilities under the name of being faithful to historical facts, it is a discriminatory act that violates the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”

There are presently two elevators in the building and one externally attached elevator. Of the approximately 1.92 million visitors in fiscal year 2016, the number of persons with disabilities is 49,401, and elderly people aged 65 and over who lived in the city and brought the Aged Personal Handbook amounted to 47,225 people.

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