August 18th 2019
TOKYO – About 60 percent of disabled people expect the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics to help promote the understanding of disabilities, a survey by Kyodo News showed, one year before the opening of the games.
The survey was conducted in June and July on 564 people across Japan with such disabilities as visual, hearing and other physical impairment as well as mental disorders and intractable diseases, from age brackets “10 or younger” to “80 or older.”
In the survey, 62 percent reacted positively to the sports event, expecting it to help people better understand the disabled people and eventually lead to eliminating discrimination and prejudice.
Some said they hope the Paralympics will attract people’s attention to disabilities that are usually unnoticed and increase opportunities for people to see disabled people through the media.
A total of 68 percent said they are either “very excited” or “excited” about the Tokyo Paralympics.
However, 38 percent of respondents said the event is unlikely to increase the understanding of people with disabilities, citing such reasons as that enthusiasm for the event will be temporary, and understanding will not be deepened unless people communicate with the disabled on a daily basis.
Taking the opportunities of the Olympics and Paralympics, the Japanese government is working to improve barrier-free access to transport and promote education to deepen understanding of disabilities.
But the survey showed that 66 percent said they do not feel improvement in addressing the issues since 2013, when Tokyo was chosen to host the event, compared with 34 percent who said they have felt progress.
The survey also found that 36 percent felt they recently suffered verbal and behavioral discrimination from people around them because of their disabilities.
Among answers to a question about what is necessary to promote a change in society after the Paralympics was the need for “inclusive education” where diverse students learn together at schools, including the disabled.
The responses of the survey were collected in cooperation with the Japan Disability Forum consisting of various groups for disabled people and the Nationwide Support Center for Students with Disabilities.
The Tokyo Paralympics will be held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 next year.