Hotel rooms that are made accessible for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games will remain so afterwards as part of the games’ legacy, according to the Guardian.
The news comes following government intervention and represents something of a U-turn, with many Tokyo hotels having previously come under fire for their policies regarding wheelchair accessibility.
The newspaper had previously revealed that wheelchair users attending the games would have to pay both to convert rooms for their stay and to remove modifications following their departure, which allegedly provoked much ire amongst British Paralympic officials.
However now local authorities have stepped in and insisted that the issue is ‘obsolete.’
The Guardian reports Jun Mitarai, part of the cabinet secretariat that co-ordinates Olympics planning, as saying: “After the refurbishments, the hotel rooms will not go back to the original state. That is an agreement between the Yokohama city and the hotels. The rooms will be left as a legacy.
“Hotels shouldn’t view this as a cost but rather as an opportunity. Japan is already an ageing society and it is going to be an even more ageing society in the future. And also the percentage of people with impairment is said to be around 7% – but those who are travelling are still much much less. So we want people on the management side of hotels to see this as a business opportunity and expand the number of accessible rooms.”
Mitarai also went on to tell the paper that he believed the Tokyo Paralympics would play a similar role to London 2012 in altering the way disability sports and disabled people are seen by the public.
The Tokyo Paralympics will take place in late summer next year, with the games beginning on August 25 and ending on September 6.