Ayuk Eyong Christian works for Medical Corporation Junkei-kai, a company that runs a hospital and care facilities for seniors in Akita City, Japan. He serves as the Vice President of Friends of IFA (FOIFA) Japan.
Christian is the co-founder of the Cameroon Association on Ageing, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to address issues around elderly people in Cameroon. He is one of the Directors of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA).
Emerging from a ‘barrier free’ to an ‘age-friendly’ city
Today, Japan hold on to its position as the world’s most aged society with one in four people aged 65 and over. The changing demographic combined with citizens expectations create a looming need for environmental and other changes that make life suitable, comfortable and age-integrated. Akita is one of many cities in Japan that has successfully applied the ‘barrier free’ in its environments to facilitate accessibility and mobility, usability and independence. Measure have been taken to remove barriers focused on living environments that include buildings, facilities, roads, public parks and spaces. This presentation will describe several steps taken by the city to reinforce its ‘barrier free’ policy such as all pedestrian sidewalks, radiated sidewalks, access to public buildings and spaces. As the first city in Japan to join the WHO Global Network, the paper will illustrate how Akita City is using the WHO guidelines to build on the ‘barrier free’ concept, improving current approaches to create age-friendly communities and boost independent living for seniors. It will highlight the significant progress to-date including the 100 yen coin bus project, expansion of heated sidewalks and senior volunteer scheme.
-Japan policies on ‘barrier free’ and ‘universal design’
– Akita City’s steps towards age-friendly
– current challenges and future plans
Cities and communities must step up their commitments in finding new imaginative ways to overcome the challenges faced by all people in urban life