Diet Renovation To Allow Barrier - Free Access

Diet renovation to allow barrier-free access

A Japanese upper house committee has decided to modify the Diet building to allow two newly elected lawmakers with severe disabilities barrier-free access.

Yasuhiko Funago, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and Eiko Kimura, who can hardly move her limbs, won in Sunday's upper house election. They stood for a new party called Reiwa Shinsengumi.

Members of the upper house steering committee on Thursday discussed how to make the Diet building barrier-free to the two lawmakers, who use large wheelchairs.

Both ruling and opposition lawmakers agreed to set up slopes at the main entrance of the Diet, as well as the entrance for the upper house building.

They also decided to make space for Funago and Kimura near the entrance of the upper house's main hall so they can attend sessions. The decisions were made based on interviews with the two lawmakers.

The committee also agreed to allow them to ask their caregivers to vote in plenary sessions on their behalf. The new lawmakers will be also allowed to bring in personal computers that help them communicate.

Another newly-elected lawmaker who is also a wheelchair user is former Paralympic athlete Takanori Yokosawa from the opposition Democratic Party for the People.

The committee decided to allow him to raise his hand, instead of standing, to express his support in a vote.