Sir Philip Craven met with the Japanese Prime Minister to discuss Tokyo 2020 legacy ©Tokyo 2020

International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven praised the Japanese Government for their "Universal Design 2020" action plan after a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzō Abe.

The pair met with Tokyo set to host the next edition of the Summer Paralympic Games in 2020.

Approved this week, the Universal Design 2020 plan will see the Government "redouble efforts" to promote an inclusive society which is "comfortable and accessible to everyone regardless of age, nationality and ability".

Craven said: "The IPC's aspiration is to make for a more inclusive society for people with an impairment through Para-sport and in my view this new action plan is one of the first tangible legacies of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

"Universal design will promote a barrier-free attitude amongst the people of Japan and make for more accessible facilities.  

"I hope through this plan we will see the marrying of Japan’s strong traditions with the innovative culture that it is world renowned for in order to make for a more inclusive society.

"I also hope this plan extends to sports facilities around the country, making them accessible for people of all abilities who want to participate in sport.  

"Such a move in the long-term will benefit Team Japan in their preparations for Tokyo 2020 and future Paralympic Games."

Making a host city more accessible is viewed as a key legacy goal for any Paralympic Games.

Sir Philip presented the Prime Minister with a boccia set  ©IPC
Sir Philip presented the Prime Minister with a boccia set ©IPC

Abe introduced the plan in the Japanese Parliament in Tokyo.

The meeting with Craven also involved Tokyo 2020 Minister Tamayo Marukawa and Taido Tanose, the Parliamentary vice-minister of education, culture, sports science and technology.

"Last year, our Japanese athletes put in strong performances at the Rio de Janeiro Games," said Abe.

"Seeing Paralympians pull off an astonishing performance on the grand stage made me realise once again that Para-sports has the power to invigorate people and society.

"Coming up is the Tokyo Games.  

"We need to accelerate preparations in order to make this the world's best Games.

"Furthermore, we will take the Tokyo Paralympic Games as an opportunity to realise a society of co-existence, a society in which those with disabilities can pursue their dreams and more fully harness their potential and capabilities, in the same manner as those without disabilities. 

"This will become one of the greatest legacies of the Tokyo Games.

"Today, we have here people with disabilities including Paralympians, people involved with the Tokyo Games, relevant Ministers including Minister Marukawa, among others, and we have compiled an action plan of the Government for the success of the Tokyo Paralympic Games and for the creation of a society of co-existence as a legacy of those Games."

Craven presented Abe will a commemorative boccia set after the meeting.

The sport is said to have grown in popularity in Japan after the country won mixed team silver at Rio 2016 in August.