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HOME  > Past issues  > 2016 September 7 - 13  > Visually impaired persons urge gov’t to subsidize installation of safety gates at station platforms
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2016 September 7 - 13 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Visually impaired persons urge gov’t to subsidize installation of safety gates at station platforms

September 13, 2016
In the wake of last month’s fatal accident where a visually impaired person fell from a subway platform in Tokyo and was hit by a train, members of the National Counsel of Visual Disabled in Japan (NCVDJ) on September 12 made representations to the Transport Ministry to call for measures to prevent a recurrence.

In the meeting with government officials, the NCVDJ members demanded that the Transport Ministry instruct all railway companies across the country to install safety gates at station platforms and that the installation costs be paid by the government. They also called on the ministry to subsidize train operators to increase the number of station staff.

Yamashiro Kanji of the NCVDJ pointed out that in order to help blind people navigate stations, train operators should set up more braille information boards and audio guide machines at stations. He said, “Please take measures to ensure that improvement of station buildings be implemented in accordance with the suggestions made by people with visual impairment.”

In response, Transport Ministry officials said that they have a target of setting up safety platform gates in 800 of all 9,500 stations nationwide by 2020. The petitioners criticized the target as insufficient.

Regarding the proposed subsidy program for more station workers, the Transport Ministry expressed reluctance. The participants of the representations stressed that among various possible safety measures, to increase the number of staff is one of the options which can be implemented without delay.

Six Japanese Communist Party parliamentarians took part in the meeting. Tamura Tomoko (House of Councilors), one of the six, argued that the Transport Ministry should spend more money of train safety measures as it has the responsibility to ensure passengers’ safety.

Past related articles:
> JCP requests Tokyo governor to implement train platform safety features [August 30, 2016]
> Visually impaired subway passenger’s fatal fall reaffirms need for safety improvement [August 17, 2016]
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