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Japanese society still lacks understanding of acceptance of guide dogs. In many cases guide dogs have given people with a visual impairment the freedom and confidence to go out alone, however this independence has been undermined by stores and transportation facilities refusing entry to guide dogs. In order to facilitate the acceptance of assistance dogs, including guide dogs, and to encourage people with a physical disability to fully participate in society, the Act in Assistance Dogs for Physically Disabled Persons was established.
Dawn of guide dogs in Japan
A young American tourist came to Japan with a German Shepherd guide dog. This was the first landing of a guide dog in Japan.
The first guide dogs in practical use in Japan were four German Shepherds named Rita, Astor, Podo and Luthi, who were imported from Germany. They were trained in the Temporary Tokyo Daiichi Army Hospital for the social reintegration of soldiers who lost their eyesight in the war.
Due to the chaos after defeat in the war, the development of breeding guide dogs was stopped and the existing guide dogs died. As far as we know, the last guide dog, Sedo lived until September 1953.
Mr. Kenichi Shioya started studying about breeding guide dogs in 1948. In 1957, Mr. Shioya trained a German Shepherd, Champy to become the first domestically produced guide dog in Japan.
History of guide dogs in Japanese society
Japan Guide Dog Association (JGDA) was established.
Tokyo Guide Dog Association, which is now The Eye Mate, Inc., was established.
Nippon Lighthouse Welfare Center for the Blind set up its Guide Dog Training Center.
Sapporo Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which is now Hokkaido Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, was established
The Service Standards for Passengers, which was issued by the Japanese National Railways, allowed visually impaired people accompanied by their guide dogs on the train.
Tochigi Guide Dog Center, which is now East Japan Guide Dog Association, was established.
The Chubu Guide Dogs Association of Japan was established.
With the Road Traffic Act revised, guide dogs were legally acknowledged. A notification from the Ministry of Transport allowed visually impaired people with their guide dogs on the bus and in the taxi.
A notification from the Ministry of Welfare requested of hotels and restaurants that visually impaired people with their guide dogs be allowed in.
Kansai Guide Dogs for the Blind Association was established. Fukuoka Guide Dog Association, which is now Kyushu Guide Dog Association, was established.
Hyogo-ken Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, which is now Hyogo Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, was established.
A notification from the Ministry of Transport requested of hotels that visually impaired people with their guide dogs be allowed in.
The National Federation of All Japan Guide Dog Training Institutions was established as a joint organization of all the guide dog raising facilities in Japan.
The Ministry of Welfare notified medical facilities of receiving patients or visitors accompanied by their guide dogs.
March > Nippon Foundation made a nationwide research into the awareness of guide dogs on visually impaired people, guide dog users and organizations raising guide dogs.
Guide Dog & Service Dogs Center of Japan, which is now Guide Dog & Service Dogs Association of Japan,was established.