According to a 2022 survey by the Japan Guide Dog Association, 45% of visually impaired people have been denied access to restaurants and other facilities while accompanied by a guide dog.
Increase in opportunities for people to go out due to vaccination against COVID 19, among other factors is thought to be a 10 point rise from the previous year's survey.
The Law on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons requires that guide dogs be accepted at various public facilities, such as restaurants and lodging establishments.
In the year 2022, 100 people, or 45% of the total respondents, were denied access to certain facilities while accompanied by an assistance dog. The survey logged 196 refusals, with some of them experiencing more than 10 incidents in a single year. Of the 196 refusals, 92 occurred at restaurants, 25 at accommodation facilities and 24 at public transportation facilities.
A person who hoped to receive a vaccine at a medical facility was told by a doctor to visit a different medical institution because their institution did not allow guide dogs.
In the association's 2019 survey, 63% of respondents experienced refusals. The spread of the pandemic has reduced opportunities for people to leave their homes, and this figure fell to 41% in 2020 and 35% in 2021. The figure for 2022 was the first increase in three years.
Local government officials will visit the establishment in question and provide guidance, such as by encouraging staff to become familiar with the law in cases in which a guide dog user reports a case of denied entry.
Some guide dogs users say they take it personally when they are refused entry due to being accompanied by their dog, an official of the association said. People being denied entry when they are with their dog is a form of discrimination based on disability. We will continue to raise awareness of the issue in cooperation with the government.