Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
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Policy Bureau
General Principles of Universal Design Policy
I. Present state and challenges

2. Challenges to be overcome to achieve universal design

  In order to construct a society in which all people can exercise their individuality and their capabilities and participate fully in that society to achieve self-actualization, it is important to adopt the perspectives of "fairness," that means not discriminating between users, "freedom of choice (flexibility)" that permits flexible satisfaction of individual needs, and "participation" that encourages planning with the participation of users and residents, based on the concept of universal design: designing facilities that are "easily and freely used anywhere, by anyone".
  It is necessary to establish a process of staged and continued development and to strive to achieve a "more universal social environment" from a variety of perspectives (spiral up *5) by sharing knowledge that has been obtained and reflecting this knowledge in future measures.
  A review of measures taken by the MLIT based on such concepts has revealed the following challenges.

  Because measures to achieve a barrier free society have, until now, focused on removing barriers to the movement of elderly and handicapped people in particular, not enough has been done to consider use by a variety of types of people.
    Measures to remove barriers to elderly and handicapped people have not considered a wide range of users including mentally handicapped and mentally ill people, foreigners, children, and adults with children.
    Because measures to remove barriers have been taken independently at each facility, continuity at connections between facilities has not been ensured or barrier free measures have been limited to parts of the living environment centered on travel facilities.
    With the priority on physical measures at facilities, support systems integrating physical and non-physical measures have not been taken and measures to provide information and remove psychological barriers have been inadequate.
   The elimination of barriers in newly constructed facilities through legal requirements has progressed, and at the far more numerous existing facilities, a certain degree of progress has been made, but overall, measures have been inadequate.

  A comprehensive survey of national land and transportation administration has revealed not only these problems with efforts to remove barriers; but a number of problems related to public transportation and city planning.

  In the public transportation sector, adequate measures to link different transportation companies and to provide information have not necessarily been taken, and the framework of past polices concerning the introduction of new public transportation services does not necessarily guarantee the ability to effectively take barrier-free measures.
  It is difficult to implement city planning that guarantees services that users require and people remain susceptible to disasters, because of the deterioration of city centers and the great distance from city centers to residential districts.
  And processes permitting the staged and continuous implementation of measures from varied perspectives have not always been established.

*5  Spiral up: It is a staged and continuous process in which users and residents participate actively from the preliminary study stage to the post-project evaluation stage and share knowledge obtained through their participation process to apply it to other projects.
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