Before ushering in the Paralympic Games, Tokyo undertook a wave of projects to make itself more accessible to people with disabilities. Nearly all train stations now have elevators, and some have safety barriers along platform edges to protect the visually impaired. About 3,200 newly built hotel rooms are wheelchair accessible, as are stalls in many public bathrooms.
Yuto Hirano, a Paralympic volunteer, welcomes the changes. But as he rolled up one recent afternoon in his wheelchair to a building advertised as accessible, a nearly imperceptible barrier stopped him in his tracks. He bumped against a slight incline leading to the automated front doors and could not get over it without someone pushing his wheelchair from behind.