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Licensed guides will assist the disabled and the elderly at four Seibu department stores, including the flagship Ikebukuro store in Tokyo, starting later this month, according to Seibu officials.

Seibu Department Stores Ltd. will conduct training sessions for 50 prospective guides four times a year. The company hopes the trainees will eventually serve at all 25 stores and hotels, it said.

The Foundation for Total Health Promotion, a Tokyo-based organization that Seibu commissioned to teach the guides, put together the training program, called “Heartful Adviser.”

Department store guide trainees will learn how to assist the disabled and the elderly when they want to use a credit card and about wheelchairs and other equipment.

Hotel guide trainees will also be trained to help disabled and elderly.

Seibu suggested licensing the guides so they will be able to give customers excellent service.

The foundation aims to promote licensing mainly among frontline store employees to make customers feel more secure with their assistance.

One of the trainees expressed a desire to help customers enjoy shopping rather than merely touring them around the store, because in this age of mail-order businesses the customers actually make the effort to visit a store.

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