The Eleventh Workshop

Accessibility of Sporting Venues for People with Disabilities: Accessibility as Spectators and as Athletes

The aim of this presentation is to propose a set of recommendations to improve sporting venues for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. It is based on a study of the accessibility of sporting venues for people with disabilities participating in Paralympic sports as spectators or as athletes.

The purpose of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is to ensure human rights for people with disabilities. Equality with others is a particularly important aspect. Accessibility is a right of people with disabilities, and is not something that is defined by a feeling of consideration that people without disabilities have for people with disabilities. In this respect, Japanese barrier free law includes regulations on physical aspects of facilities, but lacks the principle of "equality with others".

The International Paralympic Committee considers access a fundamental human right, and in order to achieve this has standards for accessibility, for example providing seating for wheelchair users. For 2020, changes need to be made in line with these standards, but conditions in Japan are considerably behind those in Europe and the United States, and standards for spectator accessibility have not yet been set. As a result, there are very few examples of facilities where the sightline of spectators has been taken into account.

Studying accessibility for athletes with disabilities showed that sporting venues were focused on creating a barrier-free environment and providing parking space. It also showed that many athletes drove over an hour to sporting venues, and had difficulty finding places where they could practice. In the future, improvements are needed in several areas to increase accessibility for people with disabilities in sporting venues in general.

A paper on this research is available here (Japanese only).