National

Japan to increase number of wheelchair-friendly hotel rooms

JIJI

The land ministry plans to revise Japan’s standards for barrier-free hotels to increase the number of rooms suitable for wheelchair users ahead of the Olympics, sources said.

But the new standards will only be applied to new and refurbished hotels.

Hotels with up to 49 rooms, which are not obliged to have wheelchair-friendly rooms, will be exempted as well.

Under current standards, hotels with more than 2,000 sq. meters of floor space and over 50 guest rooms are obliged to have at least one or more rooms accessible to wheelchair users.

The ministry is considering using a ratio that requires at least 1 percent of all guest rooms be accessible by wheelchair users, the sources said. To do that, it will overhaul the implementation of the barrier-free law.

Under the new rules, hotels with 201 to 300 rooms, for example, would have to have three or more rooms accessible to wheelchair users.

The International Paralympic Committee and organizations for people with disabilities have been calling for such room increases in Japan ahead of the 2020 Games.