The Japanese government has committed to ensuring all hotel rooms are converted to make them accessible for wheelchair visitors to the 2020 Paralympics, following a recent outcry over the refusal of hotels in Yokohama to accommodate the needs of wheelchair athletes.
With a looming deadline for the August 25, 2020 opening ceremony, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government estimates it is still short of about 300 rooms out of the projected 850 accessible rooms needed each night during the two-week sporting event.
The issue came to light in April when The Guardian reported that British Paralympic officials “were left stunned” when hotels in Yokohama demanded payment to make the rooms accessible.
According to the report, hotels near the British team’s training camp for the Paralympics said they would charge extra for the rooms to make them accessible and demanded the team pay again to convert the rooms back after the Games.
But there has since been more support for hotels to make the necessary modifications. In April Yokohama City authorities started offering subsidies to accommodation facilities with at least 1,000sqm of total floor space to make accessibility modifications.
Authorities also eventually agreed to use the fund to pay for modifications for the British Paralympians. The city will cover as much as half the renovation costs up to a cap of ¥20 million (US$18.4m) .