Concerning service dogs, Japan is definitely not an advanced country.
However, after our newest service dog, assistance dogs for mobility work was introduced and the medical professionals became interested in them as a new assistive technology for people with mobility disabilities, there have been many developments in this area in the last 15 years in Japan. The good thing about being a developing country in this area is that the fact that there are many good and bad examples in the world to learn from.
The Law Concerning Service Dogs for People with Disabilities was passed by the Diet on May 22, 2002, and has begun to be enforced from October 1, 2002. This is an access law for people with disabilities who live with service dogs. The service dogs the law pertains to are Guide dogs, Hearing dogs and Mobility-service dogs.
|Guide dog||Mobility-service dog||Hearing dog|
|Role||Guide for walking||Assist and support daily life (Pick up and carry objects, assist changing clothes and posture, support standing and walking, open and close doors, call for help in an emergency)||Alert to necessary information and guide to the origin of sounds (differentiate between for e.g., buzzer phone, phone ring, calling from other people, etc.)|
|Total number of working dogs||966||74||69|
|(March 2016)||(March 2017 by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)||(March 2017 by Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare)|
『The Act on Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons』
This law aims at clarifying the responsibilities of both service dog users and trainers, and provides access to service dog users in public facilities, transportation and any other public places that citizens can use. The objective is to promote the social participation and independence of people with disabilities through facilitating the use and training of service dogs.
Service dogs for people with disabilities are defined as
guide, hearing and mobility-service dogs.
3：Legal access for service dog users in public facilities
(1) In national and local public bodies, public transportation
and those facilities accessible to many and unspecified
persons, the administrators of such must not deny entrance
to service dogs whenever service dog users utilize those facilities.
(2) Public transportation must provide access to people with disabilities traveling with service dogs.
(3) In case of utilizing those facilities with a service dog, people with disabilities should carry on their person at all times official certification indicating that the service dog has been trained especially for the individual.
4：Training and Certification of service dogs
(1) The Training utility for mobility service dogs and hearing dogs is classified as “a Second Social Welfare Utility.”
(2) The Minister of Health, Labor and Welfare shall designate juridical persons for public service and juridical persons for social welfare involved in training or research, that can perform the responsibility of certifying service dog.
(3) Concerning the dogs trained as a service dog and applying for certification, the designated official juridical bodies should certify the dog if there exist no issues toward other human beings and the dog has abilities to act appropriately in public.
The Act and Law shall be put into force on October 1. 2002.Concerning 4(1), however, this will come into effect In April 1. 2003.
And 3(1), “administrators of facilities used by unspecified persons”, This shall come into effect October 1. 2003.
Japanese Service Dog Resource Center
1688-1-B203 nippa-cho, Kouhoku-ku, Yokohama-city, Kanagawa 223-0057 JAPAN