Japan - Assistance Dog Laws

Japan has specific Assistance Dog Laws and Eligibility Criteria which are listed below. Please familiarise yourself with these before you start the quarantine process.

Assistance Dog Eligibility Criteria

Visual Description:

Guide Dog Nixon in front of a store with Assistance Dog Access Law signage

Japan Assistance Dog Access

  • Access for Assistance Dogs is guaranteed in Japanese public facilities, stores, and hospitals (including zoos!)

  • Visitors must complete the Japanese Temporary Assistance Dog Certification to be granted these rights

  • If you have any access issues, please keep your cool and show page two of this Aqua coloured Quick Access Guide in Japanese. Whenever I have had to show this Guide, staff have apologised profusely for their lack of awareness

  • There are tactiles in a lot of places in Tokyo

  • It is not common to see people with a disability out and about in Japan

  • Therefore, access laws are not widely familiar. There is unlikely to be any malicious intent behind any resistance you may experience

  • These stickers indicate that Assistance Dogs are welcome (visual description below).

Visual description:

A person in a wheelchair with their Assistance Dog adjacent to three Japanese Assistance Dog Access stickers and an English Assistance Dog Access Sign

Assistance Dog Information

  • As of 2019, there are only about 950 guide dog teams, 65 mobility service dog teams and 68 hearing dog teams in the whole of Japan for a population of 127 million

  • Tokyo is likely to experience an influx of Assistance Dogs for the Tokyo Olympics/Paralympics 2020

  • Be prepared to be a bit of a spectacle because of the existence of few Assistance Dogs, however Japanese people are usually discreet about their intrigue

  • I have found Japanese people quite aware of our dogs' role, relevant protocol and our rights

  • Here is some general information on Assistance Dogs in Japan from the MHLW.

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