Nearly 90 percent of people in Japan believe discrimination and prejudice against those with disabilities continue to persist, according to a recent government survey.

The survey conducted last year found 88.5 percent responded discrimination against such people either "exists" or "exists to a certain extent," despite the holding of the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021, according to the results released by the Cabinet Office late February.

Train crew demonstrates how to use a detachable slope for wheelchair users in Tokyo. (Photo courtesy of East Japan Railway Co.)(Kyodo)

The figure was higher than the 83.9 percent of people who responded similarly in the previous survey, conducted using different methods in 2017 and held a year after a law to ban discrimination against people with disabilities came into force.

Among respondents who said there was prejudice and discrimination in the study, conducted in November and December 2022, 58.9 percent said they feel there has been an improvement over the last five years, while 40.4 percent responded that there had not.

The law, designed to prevent discrimination against disabled people, was enacted in 2013 and enabled Japan to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities the following year, designed to protect their human rights and ensure their fundamental freedoms.

The law was revised in 2021 and obliges private companies to accommodate people with disabilities by implementing measures such as setting up sloped access points for wheelchairs and communicating with people who have hearing impairments by means of writing.

But only 24.0 percent responded they were aware of the law, while 74.6 percent said they did not know about it.

"We want to continue promoting awareness regarding the law for eliminating discrimination," said a Cabinet Office official.

The survey was conducted by mail, with questionnaires being sent to 3,000 people aged 18 and older, resulting in 1,765 providing valid responses. The previous survey in 2017 was conducted by interview.

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