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Bill presses for better handicapped accessibility

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The government adopted on Friday a bill aimed at improving the handicapped accessibility of the country’s public transportation systems ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The bill calls for obliging the operators of public transportation systems to submit to the transport minister plans for accessibility improvement measures designed to allow handicapped or elderly people to use their services safely.

The measures include installing platform screen doors and setting up ramps at train stations.

The bill to revise the so-called transportation barrier-free law seeks to impose fines of up to ¥500,000 on operators that fail to submit such plans.

The government aims to have the bill enacted during the ongoing Diet session, which is currently slated to run through June 20.

In the bill, the transport minister presents measures that should be implemented by railroad companies, bus firms and airlines. In addition to facility improvement steps, the recommended measures include the introduction of passenger assistance services and the promotion of employee training.

These public transportation operators will also be required to report progress in the implementation of their accessibility improving plans. If progress is judged to be markedly insufficient, the minister will seek improvement or announce the names of the companies.

The bill also states that Japanese citizens have the responsibility to help people who need assistance, reflecting the government’s hope to make the country mentally prepared to accept guests from abroad at the time of the 2020 Games.Speech

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