A nonpartisan lawmaker group plans to submit a bill to foster helper dogs as well as other bills to revise a basic law on disabled people and related laws to the extraordinary Diet session scheduled for the fall.

The group, led by Foreign Minister Makiko Tanaka, released an outline of a bill that promotes the training of helper dogs, which help disabled people lead independent lives.

The dogs will be defined as those aiding blind, deaf or otherwise disabled people, and the elderly.

The draft of the bill stipulates that helper dog trainers should register with prefectural governors within a month of beginning training and that the dogs should be allowed to accompany their owners at public facilities and on public transport.

It also says the state will specifically designate institutes that certify helper dogs.

The measure includes a passage to encourage private facilities to allow the dogs to accompany disabled people and imposes punishments for helper dog trainers who fail to register with governors.

The outline stipulates that the bill will come into effect on Oct. 1, 2002, and should be reviewed five years later.

Meanwhile, six leader dogs were admitted to the Chiba Prefectural Assembly on Tuesday, where Chiba Gov. Akiko Domoto answered questions on Chiba’s policy on guide dog promotion.

The six dogs were admitted together with blind people and veterinarians. Domoto said it is vital to increase the number of guide dogs as they play an important role in promoting social participation by the blind.

The prefecture provides two guide dogs annually to those in need and about 20 are believed to be working in Chiba.

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