Written with extracts from Jiji Press and Barrier Free Japan
December 3rd 2019
TOKYO– East Japan Railway Co. said Tuesday it will introduce a guide robot utilizing artificial intelligence and an unstaffed convenience store at a new station slated to open in Tokyo in April 2020.
JR East hopes to make the Takanawa Gateway Station on its Yamanote Line a model for its future stations with cutting-edge technologies, officials said.
Disability action groups in Japan have voiced concerns about ‘unstaffed‘ stations before.
In November 2019, a disability action group in Kyushu highlighted concerns about ‘unstaffed’ stations. An Oita City based disability association submitted signatures for 73,113 people who requested the withdrawal of the plan. Based on the prefectural ordinance prohibiting discrimination against persons with disabilities.
A spokesperson for the Oita City based disability group is quoted as saying:
“I want to make a trial to ask the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act and Prefectural Ordinance with reasonable considerations.”