On October 3, the Hankyu department store in Osaka hosted an event promoting the awareness of service dogs. One of the attendees, a hearing-impaired woman came with her service dog and, after the event was over, decided to grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant with a friend.
They headed straight for the first restaurant they saw, located in the same department store and, in fact, on the same floor as the service dog awareness event. However, a member of staff refused to allow the woman in on the premise that dogs and pets aren’t allowed in the restaurants. Despite the woman’s friend attempts to explain that the dog was, in fact, an assistance dog, the staff turned them away. The same thing happened in the next restaurant – also located on the same floor.
The Hankyu department store has already apologized directly to the woman, as well as posted an official apology on their homepage. The woman, who was finally allowed in the third restaurant, says she will continue to spread awareness in the hope that other people with disabilities won’t have to go through the same experience with their service dogs.
Since 2002, Japan passed a law that says individuals with guide dogs, hearing or mobility dogs may not be denied access to any facility that’s open to the public, including hotels and restaurants. Two years after the Access Law for Service Dogs was passed, however, a survey of 500 people demonstrated that half of them were unaware of the existence of the law. Over ten years later, it still seems like most people are not familiar with the laws protecting the rights of people with disabilities and service dogs – even meters from a special event designed to raise awareness of the issue.
Source: Rocket News 24