At a recent event on accessibility in the service industry, we were excited to meet members of the Japanese Service Dog Resource Center (JSDRC). As bringing a service dog or guide dog to Japan is not an easy process, we asked the JSDRC to share about their services.
What is the Japanese Service Dog Resource Center?
The Japanese Service Dog Resource Center (JSDRC) is a non-profit organization, organized by board members of healthcare providers, veterinarians, service dog users, and animal welfare specialists, with the following objectives:
- To enhance the general understanding of the public in order to promote active social participation of people with disabilities now living with service dog
- To conduct research and compile data on service dog organizations, both domestic and foreign
- To answer questions and provide information on service dogs from people with disabilities as well as from the general public
- To formulate comprehensive plans for the training and education of service dogs
- To initiate or cooperate with any other activities or events deemed necessary for the enhancement of the social participation of people with service dogs
JSDRC looks forward to providing information to:
- People with disabilities already living with service dogs on any questions or issues they may be faced with
- People with disabilities considering the service dog option on any questions they may need to have answered before making the crucial decision
- Medical specialists, welfare specialist, public entities, service providers etc. on educational activities to promote the understanding of service dogs and their users
- Those interested in training service dogs on various qualifications and systems of training
About assistance dog users from overseas.
In Japan, the Act on Assistance Dogs for Persons with Physical Disabilities was enacted in 2002 and the certification system has been introduced in accordance with the law.
The law is a domestic law of Japan. Therefore, only those assistance dogs, properly trained and certified in accordance with this law, and their users are permitted to use public transportation and facilities for the general public.
However, outside Japan, not all countries and provinces legally stipulate explicit definitions and certifications on assistance dogs. Because the definition is ambiguous, an increase in support dogs other than assistance dogs and problems with distinction from pet dogs are becoming obvious.
Since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held, it is assumed that the number of assistance dog users coming from overseas will increase from now on.
Therefore, we aim to help foreign assistance dog users visiting Japan understand the responsibilities of controlling the dogs’ behavior and sanitation during their stay in compliance with the assistance dog law of Japan in order to promote further social participation of the domestic assistance dog users.
Information useful for Japan
The assistance dog law does not assume accreditation for assistance dogs entering from abroad. Therefore, in 2017, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and JSDRC reviewed guidelines for foreign assistance dog users.
Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare created the English version of the Assistance Dog portal site in May 2017, to provide the outline of “the Act on Assistance Dog for Persons with Physical Disabilities” And information on Japanese assistance dogs for foreign assistance dog users thinking about visiting Japan. This includes:
Assistance dogs entering into Japan must undergo import quarantine inspection and need to meet the same import quarantine requirements as other pet dogs.
If dogs meet import quarantine requirements upon arrival in Japan, the quarantine period will be within 12 hours.
On the other hand, dogs that do not meet the requirements will be subject to quarantine at a detention facility of the Animal Quarantine Service for the necessary period (up to 180 days).
“User Certificate” of Limited Period for Assistance Dog Users Entering Japan
The “Act on Assistance Dogs for Persons with Physical Disabilities” allows an assistance dog user to accompany an assistance dog (guide dogs, mobility service dogs, and hearing dogs) certified in accordance with the law to use public transportation and facilities for the general public. However, this law does not apply to assistance dogs and their users from overseas.
In order to protect the right of overseas assistance dog users in Japan, some designated corporations issue a time-limited user certificate. Please inquire with us directly for further details.
“Mobility service dogs” are specifically defined as the dogs which support their users’ physical disabilities due to impairment of motor function. Other service dogs which support their users’ mental disorders, autism and emotional disorders, and epileptic disorders, etc. are not certified as assistance dogs in Japan.
We hope that for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Japan will smoothly accept assistance dog users from overseas, helping them stay comfortably, participate fairly and equitably with their accompanying assistance dogs.
The Japanese Service Dog Resource Center
203-1-1688 Nippa-cho, kouhoku-ku, Yokohama-city, Kanagawa 223-0057 JAPAN
E-mail: [email protected] Website: http://www.jsdrc.jp