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Accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan

Tokyo, Japan is hosting the 2020 Summer Olympics. As usual, the Paralympics will follow. It is expected that forty million people will travel to Japan to watch the Olympics and Paralympics. As a result, Japan is examining accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics. While Japan is accessible in some places already, the country will be making improvements between now and 2020. The goal is to ensure accessibility for everybody at the 2020 Summer Olympics so that athletes and fans of all abilities can enjoy the Games without facing barriers.

In this article, we will discuss how Japan is improving accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics. We will examine some locations, such as:

  • Hotels
  • Airports
  • Public Transit
  • Venues

Accessibility at the 2020 Summer Olympics


Hotel rooms in Japan are usually small. As a result, using mobility devices is hard. As well, some hotel bathrooms in Japan do not have accessible showers or tubs. So, since Japan is hosting para-athletes and fans with disabilities, they must make hotels accessible. The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has urged Japan to build more accessible hotel rooms. As well, they asked Japan to improve existing rooms. For example, they’ve asked for:

  • More space in rooms
  • Installation of grab bars
  • Ramps that address floor level differences


There is a plan to improve airports in time to greet Olympics fans and athletes. Above all, the plan is to make airport washrooms more accessible. Improvements include upgrades, such as:

  • Voice guidance systems in accessible washrooms to guide users who are blind
  • Light alert systems to help users who have hearing loss or are deaf
  • Consistent washroom sign icons
  • Adding Braille to signs

The Narita Airport in Japan has some accessible washroom stalls with special features for service animals. For instance, these features include:

  • Double wide stalls to fit service animals, as well as owners
  • Leash hooks
  • Mats that provide animals a place to relieve themselves
  • Cans designed for animal waste disposal

Public Transit

Japan has 3500 transit stations slated for accessibility upgrades before 2020. For instance, upgrades to transit stations include:

  • Barrier-free equipment and upgrades for wheelchair users
  • Braille notification signs
  • Toilets designed for easier access
  • Platform sliding doors to prevent people from falling onto the tracks
  • Ramps and elevators


Japan will address all barriers within 20 kilometers of venues. There will be many upgrades,  for example:

  • Braille tiles on walkways
  • Addition of ramps and railings
  • Levelling out of walkways and entrance ways
  • Automatic doors

As well, they will make changes to improve venues so all people can enjoy events. For instance, each venue will have accessible:

  • Pathways and circulation areas
  • Stairways
  • Counters and service areas
  • Washrooms
  • Doors and doorways
  • Entrances and exits
  • Elevators and ramps
  • Venue seating areas

In sum, Japan is hoping to ensure that all fans can enjoy the 2020 Summer Games. To that end, Japan is increasing accessibility at local hotels, the venues, and the transportation systems. Japan welcomes fans from all over the world regardless of ability.