Five enlightening recent reads on issues surrounding disability in Japan:
- “The bond between a blind person and her guide dog is hard to compare to any other relationship,” writes Uyanga Erdenebold in the Community section. In the pursuit of a truly inclusive society, she makes the case for attitudinal accessibility in addition to the physical kind in Japan and elsewhere.
- Budget cuts and labor shortages have led rail operators in Japan to leave some quieter train stations unmanned, causing major accessibility problems for people with disabilities. Harumi Yoshida, who has cerebral palsy, is just one person who has seen his ability to travel curtailed. He decided to do something about it.
- Smart speakers with artificial intelligence technology are increasingly being employed to help those with disabilities in their daily lives, with their voice-activated functionalities proving especially convenient for those with mobility issues — or those who just want to connect.
- Toyota and Lixil have developed a mobile washroom for wheelchair users in the hopes it will help increase opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy outdoor events where barrier-free restrooms are not always available. Developed in consultation with wheelchair users, welfare engineering experts and para athletes, it could also come in handy during disasters.
- Crowds and noise are part of the fan of live sporting events, but they can be a barrier to fans suffering from hypersensitivity or other developmental disorders. In 2019, J. League champions Kawasaki Frontale began opening up a special sensory room at their home ground, Todoroki Stadium, to fans who might otherwise be daunted by the lights, noise and crowd.