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Chapter 2 Implementation of Measures for the Aging Society
  3. Status of Implementations of Measures by Field

(4) Living Environment

- Under the "Eighth House-building Five-year Plan" (Decided by the Cabinet in March 2001. Planned period: FY2001-2005), the following efforts have been made to secure high-quality residences on a stable basis: the provision and spreading of residences precisely reflect the diversified needs of the elderly, etc. and allow residents suffering from lower physical functions or physical disorder to continue to live there; the strengthening of collaboration with medical, health, and welfare policies through various measures such as the promotion of social welfare facilities constructed in the property of nursing homes for the elderly; the improvement of living environment.

- In June 2004, the "Outline of Promotion of Barrier-free Environments" was adopted by the ministerial meeting held in relation to barrier-free environments. This outline is intended to create a society that allows all elderly to participate in social activities, play a social role, take social responsibility, and live happily with confidence and pride, under which the government has been making every effort to promote a barrier-free society.

- Under the "Law for Promoting Easily Accessible Public Transportation Infrastructure for the Aged and the Disabled (Transportation Accessibility Improvement Law)" (Law No. 68, 2000), the Basic Policy for Promoting Transportation Accessibility (Public Notice No. 1 of the National Public Safety Commission, Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Construction, and Ministry of Home Affairs, 2000) was formulated, aiming to reflect the goals for barrier-free environments, measures to be taken by the employers of transportation companies, and guidelines for fundamental barrier-free plans. In October 2004, in order to pursue comprehensive barrier-free measures for the environment including buildings situated in the top-priority development area, amendments were made to the Basic Policy with respect to the matters that would become the guidelines for fundamental barrier-free plans created by municipalities.

- Aiming for smooth accessibility for elderly people, facilities taking into consideration use by elderly people are being established, such as elevators in the public transport terminals of stations or airports, and the introduction of vehicles such as non-step buses are being promoted. (Table 2-3-39)

Table 2-3-39. Status of Transportation Accessibility Improvement for the Elderly

(1) Status of Making Passenger Facilities Barrier-Free (*Note 1)

Number of facilities used by 5,000 or more passengers per day on average End of March 2003 Number of facilities used by 5,000 or more passengers per day on average with toilets End of March 2003
Barrier-free facilities Blocks for guidance of the visually impaired Facilities with toilets for the handicapped
Railway stations 2,735 1,200 (43.9%) 2,048 (74.9%) 2,605 540 (20.7%)
Bus terminals 43 31 (72.1%) 26 (60.5%) 35 15 (42.9%)
Piers 8 6 (75.0%) 4 (50.0%) 8 3 (37.5%)
Airports 20 1 (5.0%) 9 (45.0%) 20 8 (40.0%)
(100% *Note 2)
Source: 1. The above figures conform with the smooth accessibility criteria based on the Transportation Accessibility Improvement Law.
Among railway stations with 5 meters or more height difference which are used by 5,000 or more passengers per day, the ratio of those equipped with one or more elevators is 58.1% and those equipped with one or more escalators is 68.6%.
2. Elevators, escalators, and slopes had already been installed at all airports by the end of March 2001.

(2) Status of making vehicles barrier-free

Total number of vehicles, etc. Vehicles, etc. conforming with the smooth accessibility criteria at the end of 2003
Railway vehicles 51,005 12,086 (23.7%)
Low-floor buses 58,335 10,492 (18.0%)
  Non-step buses
5,432 (9.3%)
Passenger boats 1,137 50 (4.4%)
Airplanes 473 152 (32.1%)

Note: "Vehicles, etc. conforming with the smooth accessibility criteria" are counted based on each vehicle's conformance to the smooth accessibility criteria.

(3) Introduction of "welfare taxis for the disabled"

End of FY2003: 4,574 (Total number of taxis: 267,141)

Source: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

- Under the "Act on Making Buildings Accessible and Usable for the Elderly and Physically Disabled" (Law No. 44, 1994), in order to accelerate the construction of buildings that allow the elderly, etc. to use them in a convenient manner, the construction of barrier-free buildings has been promoted by requesting conformity with a certain criteria for building owners planning the new construction, extension, or reconstruction of the specific building visited by many and unspecific persons, especially elderly people.

- With respect to telephone fraud (ore ore sagi ("it's me, it's me" fraud), etc.),a crackdown has been reinforced by the application of the Law Concerning Confirmation of Identity of Customers, etc. by Financial Institutions, etc. and Prevention of Misuse of Deposit Accounts, etc. (Law No. 32, 2002). In addition, public relations activities tailored to each type of damage have been promoted along with strong cooperation with financial institutions and other related organizations.

- Additionally, in light of the results of the "Survey on the Abuse of the Elderly in Households" conducted in March 2004, the establishment of "Comprehensive Community Support Centers" offering comprehensive consultation services including the resolution of abuse of the elderly was proposed as part of amendments to the Long-term Care Insurance System, and the "Bill for Partial Amendment to the Long-Term Care Insurance Law, etc." was submitted to the 162nd Diet in February 2005.

- In order to reduce the number of elderly killed due to residential fires, residential fire prevention measures, including public relations and familiarization and awareness raising activities, have been promoted based on the "Basic Policy for Preventing Residential Fires" (formulated in April 2001 by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency). In 2004, in order to reduce the number of deaths due to residential fires in which the majority of victims were accounted for by the elderly, the "Law to Partially Amend the Fire Service Law and Law on the Prevention of Disasters in Petroleum Industrial Complexes and Other Petroleum Facilities" (Law No. 65, 2004) was enacted in the 159th Diet and promulgated on June 2, 2004. The obligatory installation of residential fire alarms was stipulated in this law.

- In order to establish a system that enables the safe evacuation of the elderly, it is essential to provide evacuation information at the early stage of disasters and develop a better evacuation support system. In March 2005, the "Investigative Commission for Information Provision in Torrential Rainstorms, etc. and Evacuation Support for the Elderly, etc.," set up in October 2004 and mainly consisting of experts, prepared the "Guideline of Evacuation Support Procedures for Persons who Need Assistance in Disasters" that would help municipalities address evacuation support for the elderly, etc. This guideline describes the "Information regarding Evacuation Preparation (and Evacuation of Persons Who Need Assistance)" that will be provided at a time earlier than the conventional issuance of evacuation orders/directives for the elderly and other people who need more time to evacuate, as well as the detailed evacuation support plan that will be formulated to provide two or more evacuation helpers for each of the elderly, etc.

- In order to promote agricultural or local activities of the elderly living in rural regions, a variety of activities have been promoted, such as awareness raising of elderly activities, voluntary activities of the elderly, and activities jointly conducted by the elderly in cities and rural regions to develop better communities. In addition, for the purpose of making the most of the extensive experience and skills of the elderly and promoting their social participation in forestry usage, training programs have been provided for persons who plan and manage educational activities for forestry environments, and the information regarding leaders has also been provided.

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