[MHLW] Assistance Dogs for Persons with Physical Disabilities- A Summary on Reviewing Certification Guidelines Released

On 22 October 2021, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) released the summary of the Working Group for the Review of the Certification Guidelines established by the Study Group for the Training and Certification of Assistance Dogs for Persons with Physical Disabilities (referred to as the "study group").

The working group was established based on the discussions of the study group to review the guidelines for the certification of assistance dogs including hearing assistance dogs from the users’ perspective and to improve the attributes of the dogs. This summary of results with its outline taken from the working group meetings held three times between July and September 2021, is as follows:

  • Consider standardizing application format for accreditation to be a designated corporation as this will help to standardize the examination process, ensure transparency, and reduce the burden on users.
  • Clarify that remote methods (e.g. recorded or real-time video) can be used for on-site verification of the dog's behavior during the accreditation assessment, and that such methods should be promoted. Considering this, improved ICT technology will help to reduce the burden on users who live far from the designated corporation, given that the location of the designated corporation is limited.
  • Clarify and standardize the roles of assessors in the assessment committee according to their respective positions.
  • In the accreditation assessment by designated corporations, there is need to be aware that the evaluation is conducted to promote the users' independence and social participation.
  • As for the accreditation guidelines, it is necessary to set up a forum whereby designated corporations can meet to understand each other's undertakings and be guided by specifications through meaningful  exchanges of  viewpoints while taking into account each corporation’s set of circumstances.

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