When preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Japan Railways (JR), based on guidance from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport required that when at JR stations, mobility scooters:
“move at a speed no more than 2km/h and follow the instructions and warnings of the train attendant, and do not use routes other than the ones specified.”
The new rules apply to scooters with a maximum speed of 20 kilometers per hour, and riders must comply with the same traffic rules as bicycles, including not riding on sidewalks. Scooter riders are advised to wear helmets, although it is not compulsory.
At first, elevators were not included in the reconstruction plan pushed by Nagoya Mayor Takashi Kawamura, who insisted that the rebuilt castle should be as faithful to the original as possible. However, the plan has faced opposition from disabled people’s groups and others.
“Barrier-free minds” is a phrase that various parts of the Japanese government uses often in its various campaigns to raise awareness of disability issues; and of course, raising awareness of the needs of people with disabilities within the non-disabled population of Japan is a positive thing. However sometimes the desire of the Japanese government to talk about “barrier-free minds”, seems to replace any talk or action about developing ‘barrier-free spaces’. It is all very well and good to talk about “barrier-free minds”, but sometimes, people with disabilities need accessible physical spaces, ultimately no ‘positive attitude’ will turn that staircase into an elevator.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has established appropriate facilities and equipment such as barrier-free toilets, parking facilities for wheelchair users, elevators in passenger facilities, and priority seats in vehicles so that those who truly need them can use them when they need them. The Ministry will carry out a campaign to promote the use of these facilities and promote “barrier-free minds.”
Created by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in 2012 to help people with hidden impediments, or “invisible disabilities.” This includes people with prosthetic legs, artificial joints, internal ailments, and rare diseases. However public recognition of the sign remained low. The free-of-charge distribution of tags with the symbol had begun in all 47 prefectures in the country by October 2021.