National

Japanese government to require wheelchair-accessible rooms at new hotels

Kyodo

The government said Tuesday it will mandate that new hotels over a certain size make at least one of their rooms accessible to people in wheelchairs.

The revised barrier-free enforcement order approved by the Cabinet applies to hotels or inns with more than 50 rooms that are planned to be built or renovated. Hotels with 100 or more rooms will have to make at least 1 percent of their rooms barrier-free.

Implementation of the order will start on Sept. 1, 2019, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. “By preparing initiatives for travel and accommodation for people with disabilities, we would like to realize the games’ success and create a symbiotic society (between those with and without disabilities),” said Yoshitaka Sakurada, the minister in charge of the Olympics and Paralympics, at a news conference.

The order implements the provisions of a law enacted in May, aimed at improving living conditions and accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Aside from ensuring wheelchair-accessible hotel rooms, municipalities across Japan must also craft barrier-free policies after Nov. 1 and identify areas that need attention in order to implement them.

From April 2019, public transportation companies will also be required to announce their plans to make their operations barrier-free.

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