July 12th 2019
Hotel operators in Tokyo have been slow to respond to the calls from the Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments to step up the introduction of barrier-free guest rooms ahead of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in the Japanese capital, leading to complaints by some wheelchair users that there are not enough rooms they can use.
Keio Plaza Hotel in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, is one exception.
Known for its facilities friendly to guests with disabilities, the hotel has 13 “universal” rooms that are wheelchair-accessible. Featuring the same decorations as regular rooms, the rooms are also popular among elderly guests without disabilities, said a public relations official of Keio Plaza.
With not many hotels like Keio Plaza, however, estimates show that Tokyo will be short of 300 barrier-free rooms per day during the 2020 Games.
To make more such rooms available for visitors to Tokyo, the Japanese government has created a standard that new accommodation facilities above a certain size must make at least one pct of their guest rooms barrier-free. The Tokyo metropolitan government also devised original standards under an ordinance to encourage hotel operators to offer more wheelchair-accessible rooms.