National

62% of people with disabilities expect Paralympics to help promote understanding: survey

Kyodo

About 60 percent of people with disabilities expect the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics to help promote the understanding of people like them, a survey by Kyodo News showed Saturday.

The poll conducted in June and July involved 564 people across the country with various disabilities, including visual, hearing and other physical and mental issues, from those younger than 10 to over 80.

In the survey, 62 percent reacted positively to the sporting event, expecting it to help the public better understand people with disabilities and eventually lead to the elimination of discrimination and prejudice.

Some said they hope the Paralympics will make people aware of their issues that usually go unnoticed and increase opportunities for the public to see people like them through the media.

A total of 68 percent said they are either “very excited” or “excited” about the Tokyo Paralympics.

However, 38 percent of respondents said the event is unlikely to increase greater understanding of such issues, citing such reasons as enthusiasm for the event will only be temporary and real understanding can only be attained if people communicate with them on a daily basis.

The survey also showed that 66 percent feel there has been no improvement in addressing the issues they face since 2013, when Tokyo was chosen to host the event, compared with 34 percent who said they feel progress has occurred.

Still, using the Olympics and Paralympics as an opportunity, the government has been working to improve barrier-free access to ease transport for those with disabilities and promote education on the subject.

The survey also found that 36 percent felt they recently suffered verbal and behavioral discrimination from people around them.

Among the answers to questions on what is necessary to promote a change in society after the Paralympics was the need for “inclusive education,” where diverse groups of students, including those with disabilities, study together at schools.

The responses of the survey were collected in cooperation with the Japan Disability Forum consisting of various groups for disabled people and the Nationwide Support Center for Students with Disabilities.

The Tokyo Paralympics will be held from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6 next year.

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