Tokyo 2020 have embarked on a campaign to increase awareness of Para sport ©Getty Images

Three-time gold medallist Miki Matheson has admitted there is still a "stigma" around disabled people in Japan as Tokyo continues its attempt to improve the profile of Para-sport in the country prior to the 2020 Paralympic Games.

A concerted campaign has taken place in Tokyo to enhance the visibility of Paralympic sport across the host city amid concerns over the lack of awareness of disability across the country.

Tokyo 2020 has stepped up its attempt to improve in this area through television programmes and Japanese comics.

The city is also overhauling its infrastructure to make it easier for disabled people to get around.

Accessibility has been one of the main fears in Tokyo's preparations for the 2020 Paralympic Games.

Children are also being exposed to Para-sport and are being encouraged to try it.

Young children are being encouraged to try Para-sport in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images
Young children are being encouraged to try Para-sport in the lead up to Tokyo 2020 ©Getty Images

Matheson, winner of gold medals in the sport of ice sledge speed racing, which made its last appearance on the Paralympic programme at the 1998 Games in Nagano, is hopeful staging the event will "eradicate or at least reduce stigma towards people with impairments".

"Japanese people are often described as being polite and very kind but they tend to be really awkward around people with an impairment," Matheson, who now lives in Canada, told Agence France-Presse.

"In many cultures, disability has been associated with stereotyping, prejudice and stigma" and Japan is no exception."

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike has previously warned the whole event will not be a success unless the Paralympics are well received in the country and worldwide.

International Paralympic Committee chief executive Xavier Gonzalez claimed following a project review in October of last year that the next step for Tokyo 2020 was to "transform awareness levels into engagement as the Organising Committee looks to maximise ticket sales and TV audiences".