By Barrier Free Japan
December 8 2021
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has issued administrative guidance to Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) over an inability to provide assistance to a wheelchair user in Nagasaki Prefecture when the station had no personnel present, sometimes referred to as an ‘unmanned station.’
The Asahi Shimbun reported that “Tatsuko Sugata, a wheelchair user, couldn’t get station staff to help her board or get off trains.” Despite having made a reservation for assistance whilst boarding, staff were unable to meet her needs due to a disruption caused by a fallen tree.
Sugata started a petition in October, acquiring 2,907 signatures. The ministry said JR Kyushu should have responded to Sugata’s request for assistance even if it took time, in accordance with the law for eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities.
JR Kyushu apologized to Sugata, saying it was the railway operator’s fault that it failed to meet her requests. “We take the administrative guidance seriously and will work hard to prevent a recurrence,” said a JR Kyushu official.
On November 18th, the ministry told the JR Kyushu to make efforts to prevent similar incidents in the future.