On the 24th, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism compiled a draft barrier-free measure to enable people with disabilities to get on and off smoothly at unmanned stations. If it is not possible to assign a staff member to assist wheelchair users in advance, the main suggestion is for drivers and conductors to get off the train and assist. Specific guidelines are to be established within the year.
Japan just finished hosting the Paralympic Games, making a big show of it, and some say quite successfully given the conditions that a pandemic allows, of at least attempting to demonstrate that Japan could be a ‘barrier free society.’
However, it was reported by Jiji Press recently that the Japanese convenience store chain ‘Family Mart’ plans to open approximately 1,000 outlets with unmanned checkout counters by the end of the 2024 fiscal year.
Despite the nationwide introduction of over 20,000 universal design taxis and the government’s goal of promoting an inclusive society in the run up to the Paralympics, it appears Japan still isn’t in a place where wheelchair users can feel comfortable using the services.
Hotel Kazusaya in Nihombashi, Tokyo, reopened in summer last year following a major refurbishment carried out in sync with the original schedule of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. The doorways of its guest rooms have been resized to 85 centimeters wide. At the stage of planning, the doorway width was set at 75 centimeters. But in 2019, the Tokyo metropolitan government amended its relevant ordinance for hotels. Under the new standard, the doorways of rooms in newly built hotels or newly added facilities must be “a minimum of 80 centimeters in breadth,” so that wheelchairs can get through the doorway easily.
Hossain Rasouli became the first athlete representing Afghanistan to take part in the Tokyo Paralympics, a feat that looked impossible when it appeared the country’s team would be unable to travel safely to Japan to be part of the world’s largest sporting event for people with disabilities, which started a week ago.
More and more public transportation systems and accommodation facilities in Japan have introduced barrier-free infrastructure since it was decided eight years ago that the 2020 Paralympics would be held in Tokyo. n some cases, however, moves to prepare environments allowing barrier-free access have been hindered by the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Tokyo Paralympics opened on the 24th. The theme of the opening ceremony was ‘WE HAVE WINGS,’ and it represented the process of a “small airplane with one wing,” performed by a girl in a wheelchair, taking off into the sky. Yukinori Tamaki, 53, a social worker who has cerebral palsy and appears on NHK E-TV’s ‘Baribara’ a TV show about disability issues in Japan, praised the production, but said, “There is a way of life for those who cannot fly. ” What are the thoughts of Mr. Tamaki, who has continued to convey the message of a diverse society through laughter in a program that targets “all minorities who have difficulty in living?