Barrier-free rooms to become mandatory at new hotels

The Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) has proposed new rules obligating builders of new hotels or those reforming existing ones to have one percent of the rooms constructed barrier-free for wheelchair bound customers. The new rule would apply to hotels with 50 rooms or more.

The proposal will be shortly taken up in a cabinet meeting and is expected to go i9nto effect by Sep. 2019.

Officials at MLIT expect a sharp increase in the number of wheelchair bound visitors during 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics,  the costs         prompting the proposal. However, they don’t mandate changes to existing hotels.

According to the MLIT proposal, the barrier-free rooms must have at least 80cm wide doors to accommodate entrance in a wheelchair and toilet and bathroom floor must be flat on level with the room floor. New hotels who fail to follow the new rules would face a ¥3 million fine. Hotels with 100 rooms or more should have at least two barrier-free rooms included.

As a special carrot for hotel owners, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the MLIT have created an extra budget offering government subsidy money to help cover the extra costs associated with the new rules.