Barrier Free Disability Japan Unmanned Stations

“Unmanned” train stations continues to pose problems for people with disabilities in Japan

“The number of "unmanned stations" without station staff all day long has risen to more than 4,500 stations, which is close to half of the stations nationwide, and is still increasing.
Under such circumstances, there are issues such as assistance to people with disabilities, so the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has set up a study group and started discussions for improvement.”

Written with extracts translated from NHK

November 7 2020

The number of “unmanned stations” without station staff all day long has risen to more than 4,500 stations, which is close to half of the stations nationwide, and is still increasing.

Under such circumstances, there are issues such as assistance to people with disabilities, so the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has set up a study group and started discussions for improvement.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, as of the end of March last year, 48.2% of stations nationwide, or 4564 stations, had no station staff all day long, increasing by more than 400 stations from 2002. Is continuing.

Under such circumstances, there were a series of voices nationwide saying that people using wheelchairs and people with disabilities in their eyes and ears had difficulty receiving assistance when getting on and off, and in September in Oita prefecture, people living in wheelchairs said, ” It is a violation of freedom of movement, “he filed a lawsuit against JR Kyushu.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism set up a study group to exchange opinions with organizations of persons with disabilities and JR and major private railway companies, and held the first meeting on the 6th in order to solve these problems.

Among them, a group of people with disabilities reported that when requesting assistance at an “unmanned station”, it was difficult to use it because it was necessary to make a reservation several days in advance, and there were cases where the use was refused. Opinions were expressed that we would like station staff to be assigned as much as possible when there are many people.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plans to hold study meetings about three times in the future, and then summarize issues that railway companies nationwide should tackle as guidelines around the summer of next year.

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