International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons has encouraged Tokyo not to lose focus on providing accessible accommodation due to the rescheduling of the Paralympic Games to 2021.
The Paralympic Games are now set to take place from August 24 to September 5 next year.
The dates were revealed last week, following the postponement of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the Japanese capital due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 1.4 million people and killed over 86,000 people.
Parsons has expressed concern the postponement of the Games could see hotels lose focus on providing accessible accommodation for disabled people.
The IPC have consistently called for Tokyo to increase efforts to ensure enough accessible rooms be made available for the Games.
The organisation believes this will both support spectators to attend the Games and help change the culture.
Parsons said several positive measures had been taken by hotels, with some seeking to adapt existing rooms to ensure they can be accessed by wheelchair users.
“We cannot lose the focus around accessible accommodation,” Parsons said during a media teleconference today.
“Some hotels were already preparing to adapt and to adjust.
“With the postponement we believe they may lose some focus on that.
“We want to remind them and work closely with them to keep the focus on accessible accommodation."
“My message to Japan would be to honour that commitment, with new laws implemented and we have already seen the change in attitude in Japanese society," Parsons continued.
“We cannot lose focus.
“Of course this is a serious situation, but the Games are more than just sport.
“The Paralympic Games have always been a catalyst for change in the host nation, but also on a global level as well.”
Japan introduced new legislation in September in a bid to address a lack of accessible accommodation.
Around 850 accessible hotel rooms are reportedly required for the Games.
One per cent of a hotel's rooms must now be accessible, replacing the old law where any hotel with more than 50 rooms was required to have just one room available for disabled people.
At railway stations, new platforms and elevators are among the upgrades.