7. Living Environment

The law aims to build public buildings that meet the needs of persons with disabilities. It is also called the “Heartful Building Law.” The owners of specified buildings used by the public, such as hospitals, theaters, meeting places, exhibition centers, department stores, and hotels, are encouraged to modify the designs of entrances, corridors, stairs, washrooms, and other facilities. Prefectural governors may provide guidance, as well as order a modification or withdraw owner authorization. Subsidies for construction or remodeling are provided when the accessible design is approved.

This legislation, formulated from the standpoint of ensuring that the elderly and persons with disabilities can conduct their everyday activities independently and live in the community, is aimed at creating measures that improve their use of public transportation, other public facilities, roads, and station plazas. It is also called the “Traffic Barrier-free Law.”

This legislation aims to raise good assistance dogs for persons with disabilities and facilitate the access to relevant facilities for those people taking assistant dogs with them so as to promoting their independence and social participation. Assistance dogs for persons with disabilities shall include guide dogs for blind persons, service dogs for persons with orthopedic disability, and hearing dogs for deaf persons. The government, local public corporations, public transportation service providers, and managers of facilities cannot in principle refuse the entry of these dogs when they accompany a person with disability.

This law aims to improve industrial technology in the goal of promoting the development and distribution of various technical aids and equipments and thereby providing assistance for the everyday and social activities of persons with physical and intellectual disabilities and the elderly.

This law stipulates the traffic rules for pedestrians and vehicles and the duties of drivers in order to ensure traffic safety and the smooth flow of vehicles, thereby contributing to the prevention of disabilities caused by road accidents. Persons with visual impairments are obliged to use white canes, and regulations are laid down on the use of electric wheelchairs on sidewalks. The law also provides for exemptions to no-parking zone rules for vehicles driven by persons with physical disabilities.

This law provides for the construction and maintenance of roads where passage money is collected from users (toll roads). Vehicles driven by persons with physical disabilities as well as vehicles used to transport persons with severe physical disabilities or intellectual disabilities are eligible for a 50% discount on the tolls.

This legislation, enacted when the national railways were privatized, was formulated to protect the interests of railway users and ensure the sound development of railway businesses, thereby promoting the welfare of the public. The law provides for an authorization system for fares and other fees. Persons with a category one physical or intellectual disability (Certificate holder under 12 years old) are eligible for a 50% discount on fares for themselves as well as one person accompanying them. Those with a category two physical or intellectual disability (Certificate holder over 12 years old) may receive a 50% discount on their own fares.

Braille materials and recorded mail for persons with visual impairments can be sent free of charge. Parcels for persons with visual or hearing disabilities can be mailed at half price. Periodicals published by groups active for persons with disabilities can be mailed at a reduced rate. This law stipulates the types of mail and corresponding rates and the special handling of mail in the aim of providing inexpensive, fair postal services.

Persons with visual disabilities may use the NTT telephone directory service for free. Persons with speech disorder may receive discounted rates at public telephones by using a credit card.

The law promotes services to make media like telecommunications and broadcast accessible to persons with disabilities so that they can take advantage of the growing availability of information. For instance, subsidies are given to broadcasting corporations for the production of television programs with captions for persons with hearing disabilities or programs with narrations that provide an account of the story for persons with visual disabilities.

This law mandates that public programs are compatible with and enhance the welfare of the public. Regulations are included on the operations of NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation).
Indigent households with a member who has physical disability or severe intellectual disability are exempt from paying any subscription fees. Households headed by a person with visual, hearing, or severe orthopedic disability can receive a 50% reduction on such fees.

This law establishes voting rights, eligibility for elections, and voter registration for the election of members of the national Diet and local assembly members and chief executives.
A system of voting by mail exists for persons who have orthopedic disability or internal organ disorder that prevents them from going to polling stations.

Copied title and URL