National

2020 Games criticized by Tokyo association for the blind for lack of ticket info in Braille or on CDs

Kyodo

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has not prepared ticket purchasing instructions in Braille or on a CD for those with visual impairments, drawing criticism from groups supporting such individuals.

The Tokyo Welfare Association of the Blind requested these services but Tokyo 2020, which responded by explaining that the home page has a voice-over function, has not complied.

“Tokyo 2020 is going against its own policy to be barrier-free,” the association said.

The Tokyo Welfare Association of the Blind has about 1300 members with visual impairments.

Tokyo 2020’s accessibility guidelines state that “all documents intended for public use should be provided in braille, text data, large print, or audio formats.”

In July, the association requested that documents be made available in Braille.

In response, Tokyo 2020 made the home page for ticket purchases available in an audio format and established a hotline.

“A decision was made not to create Braille documents and CDs since they cannot be corrected later,” the organizing committee said in response to media requests.

The guidelines are only an example of how information can be shared, Tokyo 2020 explained, adding that “people who can’t read Braille can still take advantage of audio voice-overs on the home page. Moving forward, it’s unlikely that we will provide information in Braille.”

According to Tokyo Welfare Association of the Blind, a request was made to the city to improve the availability of information for those with visual impairments. Although an audio supplement was added for the guidebook for the 2020 Games, many still had trouble finding information on how to buy tickets.

The organization also said many elderly people have trouble using computers and smartphones, both of which are the primary method through which tickets are sold and purchased. The Tokyo 2020 home page contains a massive amount of information, making it difficult to find the voice-over functions and hotlines in the first place.

Yoshihiko Sasagawa, the chairman of Tokyo Welfare Association of the Blind, said he hoped that at least the most important information about purchasing tickets would be made available in Braille or on CDs.

“This is a far cry from an inclusive society,” Sasagawa said.

The Japan Federation of the Blind said “it’s strange that Tokyo 2020 isn’t sharing information according to its own guidelines.”