Disability and Accessibility:  Lessons from Japan

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

Video Lecture

April 2014

Across the world, persons with disabilities have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than persons without disabilities. This is partly because persons with disabilities experience barriers in accessing services, transport, information among others.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) highlights the role of the environment in facilitating or restricting participation for persons with disabilities. For example, removing barriers in public accommodations, transport, information, and communication will enable persons with disabilities to participate in education, employment, and social life, reducing their isolation and dependency. Across domains, key requirements for addressing accessibility and reducing negative attitudes are access standards; cooperation between the public and private sector a lead agency responsible for coordinating implementation; training in accessibility; universal design for planners, architects, and designers; user participation; and public education. These are cost effective, and will contribute to well-being of aging populations and beyond. (From the World Report on Disability. WHO and the World Bank, 2011)

Dr. Soya Mori, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO) lectures on disability and accessibility based on his experience in Japan and in the world.


Dr. Soya Mori, Senior Researcher, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (IDE-JETRO)

About the Video

In American Sign Language (ASL), voice-over and caption.

Soya Mori, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) speaks on the topic of disability and accessibility, pointing out the key issues at the policy-making level when realizing accessibility in developing countries. He mentions that it’s not always important to make large-scale investments such as constructions, but it is important to provide needed services within a community, even if they are implemented on a smaller scale. There is no single technology or method that provides a solution to inaccessibility. Persons with disability themselves are the ones who know best about the needs and methods for accessibility. They should be involved in the process to select the best option that strikes a good balance of effectiveness and cost for realizing accessibility.

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