Japan's Upper House to Be Barrier-Free for Disabled Lawmakers

Politics

Tokyo, July 25 (Jiji Press)--Executives of the Rules and Administration Committee of the House of Councillors agreed Thursday to make the upper parliament chamber barrier-free for newly elected lawmakers with severe disabilities.

The change will be made for Yasuhiko Funago, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease, and Eiko Kimura, who also has paralysis below the neck. The members of new political party Reiwa Shinsengumi won seats in the Upper House election on Sunday.

Regulations will be substantially eased for them, such as allowing both to vote via caregivers during plenary sessions and Funago, who has lost his voice, to use personal computers for communication and medical purposes. The dress code will not be strictly applied.

Because Funago and Kimura have to use wheelchairs bigger than those for sufferers of leg paralysis, spaces large enough for the wheelchairs will be created in the flat last row of lawmakers' seats in the mortar-shaped central hall for plenary sessions.

Other measures to ensure barrier-free access to the Upper House include the installation of a slope at the central entrance, which is used only when the Emperor and state guests visit the chamber and when newly elected lawmakers attend the first session after an election.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press