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Public Knowledge of and Attitudes toward Accessibility of Assistance Dogs for Physically Impaired People in Japan

Public Knowledge of and Attitudes toward Accessibility of Assistance Dogs for Physically Impaired People in Japan

Assistance dogs (guide dogs for people with visual impairment, service dogs for people with ambulatory impairment, and hearing dogs for people with hearing impairment) contribute greatly to the welfare of people with physical impairment. However, there have been many cases involving the denial of public access to assistance dogs in Japan. From 2003, a law (Assistance Dog of Persons with Physical Disability Act; Shintaishogaisha Hojokenho) has guaranteed the admittance of assistance dogs to facilities generally accessible to the public in Japan. Just after the full enforcement of this law, this study clarified the level of knowledge about the law and attitudes toward the admittance of assistance dogs in 151 hotels, 65 inns (Japanese.style hotels), 130 hospitals, and 78 restaurants by means of a questionnaire survey. The facilities' understanding of the law did not reach a satisfactory level. Attitudes toward accepting the admittance of assistance dogs differed among the facilities. The more the facilities knew the law, the more they understood the acceptance of assistance dogs. Appropriate education concerning the law is necessary for promoting the admittance of assistance dogs.

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