• Jiji


Japanese companies’ technologies are helping athletes at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics, boosting hopes for the furthering of inclusion and diversity in the country.

Paralympic swimmer Uchu Tomita, who won silver in the men’s S11 400-meter freestyle event on Thursday, used special goggles developed by eyewear-maker Yamamoto Kogaku Co.

The company’s Black Goggle completely shuts out light, ensuring fairness of competition for Tomita’s disability classification for vision impairment.

“We are extremely happy that we could be of help,” a Yamamoto Kogaku official said. “We made the goggles following a request by the athlete, and we did not think about profiting from it.”

Sporting goods maker Mizuno Corp. collaborated with Imasen Engineering Corp. to develop the Katana Sigma sports prosthetic. The prosthetic is used by Japanese Paralympic sprinter Saki Takakuwa. “We hope to create a richer and more active world in which all people can acquire higher physical functions,” a Mizuno official said. The product has holes, allowing for a 30% reduction in air resistance.

Bridgestone Corp. has developed wheelchair tires for tennis, as well as rubber soles for sports prosthetics. Panasonic Corp. is offering a power assist suit that can reduce burdens on people’s arms and hips, which is being used in adding and removing powerlifting weight plates.

Japanese companies are also using technology to assist people with disabilities in the field of infrastructure. Central Japan Railway Co., or JR Central, has reduced the height difference between train cars and platforms at Tokyo Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen high-speed rail line.

Housing equipment-maker Lixil Corp. is offering a portable restroom for people in wheelchairs, which was developed jointly with Toyota Motor Corp.

Japanese firms are also stepping up sponsorships for parasports. Nippon Life Insurance Co. is supporting women’s wheelchair basketball, donating balls. NEC Corp. has added boccia to the list of parasports it is supporting, which includes wheelchair tennis.

The companies are hoping to help create a truly inclusive society in which everyone can play an active role.

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