Greater Accessibility for All: New Legislation in Japan and its Impact on Construction

Feb 01, 2024

In a significant step towards a more inclusive society, Japan's revised Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities took effect in April 2024. This landmark legislation mandates that all central government, public and private businesses, and even universities prioritize "reasonable accommodation" for people with disabilities. This means proactively removing or modifying obstacles that might hinder equal participation in various aspects of life, from employment and education to accessing public facilities and housing.

> Read more about Japan's revised Law for the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities

This revised act represents a powerful step towards a more inclusive society in Japan. By requiring reasonable accommodation, the law ensures that individuals with disabilities have equal access to opportunities, services, and spaces. This will undoubtedly have a significant impact on various industries, particularly those in construction, building, and housing.

Impact on Construction and Housing 

The concept of "reasonable accommodation" can encompass a wide range of modifications. Here's a closer look at how the construction, building, and housing industries will be affected:

  • Universal Design Principles: The concept of "universal design"—creating products and environments usable by everyone, regardless of ability—will take center stage. Expect to see a rise in buildings with wider doorways, ramps alongside stairs, accessible restrooms, and elevators with braille buttons. Homes will likely see similar modifications, with features like lowered countertops and walk-in showers becoming more commonplace.
  • Increased Demand for Accessibility Experts: To comply with the new regulations, construction companies will need to collaborate with accessibility specialists. These professionals will advise on best practices for inclusive design, ensuring buildings meet the specific needs of individuals with varying disabilities.
  • Technological Advancements:  The revised Act serves as a catalyst for technological innovation in the construction sector. We can expect advancements in areas like smart home technology, voice-activated controls, and assistive living features, further enhancing independent living for people with disabilities.
  • A More Competitive Market:  As accessibility becomes a legal requirement, construction companies that prioritize inclusive design will gain a competitive edge. Clients will increasingly seek out firms with demonstrably accessible building practices.

Introducing JAPAN BUILD 

This period of transformation presents a unique opportunity for the construction and housing industries in Japan. Trade fairs like JAPAN BUILD can play a crucial role in facilitating this shift. 

JAPAN BUILD is a leading building and housing trade show in the region that brings together industry leaders, architects, designers, and product developers to showcase cutting-edge products and services in building materials, technologies, and construction methods.

At JAPAN BUILD, attendees can explore innovative products specifically designed for accessible construction. This could encompass advancements in elevators with voice-activated controls, self-opening doors, tactile paving systems, and smart home technologies that enhance independent living. The event also serves as a platform for knowledge sharing, with seminars and workshops focusing on best practices for universal design and navigating the new legal landscape.

Join us at JAPAN BUILD! 

JAPAN BUILD serves as a valuable platform where industry stakeholders can come together, share expertise, and build a future where everyone has equal access to safe, comfortable, and accessible spaces.

 December 11-13, 2024 | Tokyo Big Sight, Japan

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