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Wheelchair user sues over being told to leave wine tasting event

44 Comments
By Peter Forest

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Now the wheel is on the other side !! He has to watch out for people and he sure doesn't like it. He should have brought a designated pusher.

-17 ( +6 / -23 )

Just another example of the pedulum swinging widely the "other way"

The legal team added that there were minor accidents between an electric wheelchair user and customers when the store held a similar wine tasting event two years ago.

I wonder just how many "minor" accidents there were with people who were "walking" around?

15 ( +16 / -1 )

It is a manual wheelchair in a Department Store.... its not like there are hills in the store which could pose a problem. So its OK for a person to drink the same amount or more but someone in a manual wheelchair can't. That is discrimination. Guess they won't be holding any wine tasting events when the Para-Olympics come to Japan in 2020.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Seems pretty arbitrary. Good luck with the lawsuit.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Now the wheel is on the other side !! He has to watch out for people and he sure doesn't like it. He should have brought a designated pusher.

No, he wanted another glass of wine. It was not about watching out for other people.

Frankly you seem to portray him as some self-entitled bigot whereas all he wanted was another glass of wine.

You would never spend a day in his shoes so don't make it look like you are being victimised.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is discriminatory. I hope he wins.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

That is discriminatory.

welcome to japan

12 ( +16 / -4 )

I've been a wheelchair user for half a year. Everyday out in town in Tokyo people cut into my way in front of me, even to make it first into elevators reserved for the handicapped and elderly and I was left waiting. Japan is a cold blooded environment for the handicapped and despite facilities like elevators the people have a lot to learn in terms of manners respect. If somebody can walk after drinking, a manual wheelchair user can drive.

19 ( +23 / -4 )

This should be a "no brainer"

What a backwards group people organizing this event. They should be ashamed of themselves and should be shamed by this man's attorney.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So he want money, because his feelings got hurt? Guess the discrimination card can be use on everything these days. He should more mature and just go home and take a few nice glass of wines. No need to make such a fuss. In a wheelchair and he is drinking wine. He still need to go home. They are concern for his safety and others around him. They are trying to prevent him from getting hurt or sued by others if a accident happen. So sensitive. They are just doing their job.

-27 ( +2 / -29 )

See it all the time in Japan. There is a problem with a person so they ban the entire group. Seen it with foreigners and osens and now with wheelchair users and a department store.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

I've been a wheelchair user for half a year. Everyday out in town in Tokyo people cut into my way in front of me, even to make it first into elevators reserved for the handicapped and elderly and I was left waiting.

You should get a horn.

So he want money, because his feelings got hurt?

No.

Guess the discrimination card can be use on everything these days.

Yes, including discrimination.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

@Hiro - I hope you never have an accident which causes you to become wheelchair bound. Please try to look at this from the other person's point of view.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Next will be old people with walking sticks

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Strangerland

you should get a horn.

In Japan you would need a siren ;-) I am walking again now. But I certainly got a different perspective on Japanese manners while in a wheelchair.

Who should get the blame, people who cut into the way of wheelchair users and stumble over the footrest blades, carelessly, half drunk, or glued to a cellphone? These are the "minor incidents" every wheelchair user has to deal with in Japan every day. From the angry reactions I experienced here, the blame is laid on the wheelchair user.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

A couple of other posters were touching on this.... basically when an incident happens and the perpetrator was a minority, the Japanese will ban the minority in favor of the majority. In this way they don't need to use.... and this is a bad, bad word in Japan.... "reason". Reason / common sense, whenever possible the Japanese do their best to not have to put anyone in a position whereby they'd need to use it. Because if they have to.... a decision would need to be made.... and you can't make that decision without a consensus first.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

@SaikoPhysco

There is an easier explanation: In Japan wheelchair users and the handicapped are meiwaku.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Strangerland:

You should get a horn.

I've already got one. But the wife isn't happy about my using it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

@mu-da.... of course I know what you mean, they, the wheelchair users are not "meiwaku", but, many people consider them so. That said, my mindset is, they are not even remotely by me considered that. They are people trying to get by in this world just like anyone else. And in many other parts of the world that is how they're thought of too. People need to step out of their selfish ways and consider everyone in society. I think the Japanese have made massive strides over the last 30 years in helping to get the handicapped out in society. 30 years ago.... no elevators, no ramps. Do they need to go further, sure, yes they do but they've done a great job recently. And I think incidents like this will slowly drop in numbers. I say.... Great Job Japan... it is so much better now than it was just a few years ago. That is from a walker's point of view.... I'd like to know what an actual wheelchair user thinks?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is a manual wheelchair in a Department Store.... its not like there are hills in the store which could pose a problem.

But there probably were stairs and escalators. Had they continued giving him wine and he fell down the stairs, would he have sued them for getting him drunk.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

A couple of other posters were touching on this.... basically when an incident happens and the perpetrator was a minority, the Japanese will ban the minority in favor of the majority. In this way they don't need to use.... and this is a bad, bad word in Japan.... "reason". Reason / common sense, whenever possible the Japanese do their best to not have to put anyone in a position whereby they'd need to use it. Because if they have to.... a decision would need to be made.... and you can't make that decision without a consensus first.

Brilliant analysis. really hit the mark with that one. Nice one

8 ( +10 / -2 )

@SaikoPhysco

As mentioned above, I have been wheelchair bound for 6 months a few years back. I continued with my job and actually travelled outside and inside Japan. While Japan has made massive strides to improve the infrastructure for the handicapped, the attitude of the majority of Japanese (considering the handicapped as meiwaku) has obviously not changed. An everyday experience was healthy people cutting in my way to get to the platform elevator in train stations (reserved for the elderly and handicapped) first, while I was strandeded outside. They were looking downwards, sideways, upwards, pretending not to see the wheelchair. I never got offered first access, not once. I would anytime, as a wheelchair user, prefer the other three countries (in SE-Asia) I travelled to on wheels, which didn't have elevators and ramps, but people had civil manners, respect and were delightfully helpful without making a fuzz.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Next will be old people with walking sticks

Don't give them ideas...

You couldn't have a clearer example of discrimination than this. Unless they just straight-out banned wheelchair users from drinking at their tastings altogether. And walking stick users.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Based on the store's logic, he could even be denied alcohol at a restaurant.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

My sympathies go out to him but I'm not sure he will succeed here. This isn't a clear cut case of a paying customer in a wheelchair being denied access to a shop or a service. Disability discrimination legislation doesn't extend to compelling Seibu to give you their free wine, or free anything. That's an important distinction and I suspect it's why Seibu hasn't capitulated to his demands.

To put it another way; As a man, I can't sue someone giving out free cosmetics samples on the street if they choose only to give them to women. However, if I go to their shop and get denied entry or service based on my gender, that will likely fall under discrimination legislation.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

And the Olympics is meant to cater for all..?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

A non-drunk person in a wheelchair tried to go up an escalator, fell back, and killed a woman.

Which is entirely unrelated to this current story.

What do you mean it's unrelated to this current story? You just confirmed that wheelchairs on escalators can be deadly.

How does that differ from people not in wheelchairs who may fall down the stairs after drinking?

A wheelchair will tumble down the stairs or escalator much faster than a person. And as you kindly pointed out, they are deadly.

I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that if they gave the guy six glasses of wine and he then tumbled down the stairs or escalator and killed someone, the store would probably be responsible.

I don't see the store's decision to stop at 2 glasses of wine as so unreasonable.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

clear and obvious discrimination. Also they're basing their actions on something that happened two years ago that had nothing to do with him, so that's also discrimination. It's discrimination-a-la-polluza

This will be a good test of the law and to see if it can withstand challenges and be applied by judges

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Was this a wine-drinking event or a wine-tasting event?

Just looking at possible scenarios here. If this guy tossed down two glasses (was the picture above taken at the event?) and held out his glass for more, for example, then I could begin to see what made the store staff make the decision that they did. The wheelchair itself may have been totally irrelevant to the circumstances.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The wheelchair itself may have been totally irrelevant to the circumstances.

Did you even take the time to read the article?

But a lawyer of the department store, run by Seibu & Sogo, told the court that the instruction was "necessary to secure safety," the daily said.

The legal team added that there were minor accidents between an electric wheelchair user and customers when the store held a similar wine tasting event two years ago.

And this?

Just looking at possible scenarios here. If this guy tossed down two glasses (was the picture above taken at the event?) and held out his glass for more, for example, then I could begin to see what made the store staff make the decision that they did.

Bull, you are assuming that someone was keeping an eye on him in the first place, meaning that there was more discrimination of the guy in the first place! And "tossed" down two glasses as opposed to "sipped" or "drank" or "consumed".

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A couple of other posters were touching on this.... basically when an incident happens and the perpetrator was a minority, the Japanese will ban the minority in favor of the majority. In this way they don't need to use.... and this is a bad, bad word in Japan.... "reason". Reason / common sense, whenever possible the Japanese do their best to not have to put anyone in a position whereby they'd need to use it. Because if they have to.... a decision would need to be made.... and you can't make that decision without a consensus first.

Yep!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Going by the article on Mainichi Shimbun ( https://mainichi.jp/articles/20181121/ddm/041/040/075000c ) it was not an event where you could taste wine for free. Apparently the man had paid 2,000 yen for two glasses (1,000 yen per glass) and was approached by the clerk while he was drinking his second glass.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

On the other hand, in the light of the information provided by Confucius (thanks) I can now see another scenario, and can toss the yakuza in a wheelchair theory. 

This reminds reminds me of when I suggested our college provide ramps to encourage wheelchair students. "Oh no", I was told in the faculty meeting, "we have no elevators to the classrooms, and even if helpful students carried the wheelchairs up the stairs, they might drop them. No way."

Often the case in Japan that a past complaint, or fear of litigation in the event of an accident can set strange rules.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Well, being drunk in a wheel chair or motorised cart is illegal. Just the same as riding a bicycle drunk. As much as it seems to be a case of prejudiced against a minority, it was actually the correct decision and showing good duty-of-care sense.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Bull, you are assuming that someone was keeping an eye on him in the first place, meaning that there was more discrimination of the guy in the first place! And "tossed" down two glasses as opposed to "sipped" or "drank" or "consumed"

The obvious solution would be for everyone to have two glasses of wine, because anyone drunk on your wine can be a huge liability. It is a wine tasting not a wine drinking contest.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Roll on to the Tokyo Paralympics?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I would suspect a sign stating "the bartender has the right to stop service at any time" or "I agree not to sue in exchange for accepting service" form would suffice for insurance purposes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This reminds reminds me of when I suggested our college provide ramps to encourage wheelchair students. "Oh no", I was told in the faculty meeting, "we have no elevators to the classrooms, and even if helpful students carried the wheelchairs up the stairs, they might drop them. No way."

When was this? There is a very generous government program for colleges in Japan to make buildings wheelchair friendly. Further, because private colleges have difficulty making enrollment targets, they have become very friendly to students with disabilities.

When I was teaching at a private university in Tokyo, I saw a student who was not only in a wheelchair but who used a battery powered ventilator. He also had an attendant. I saw no one with that level of disability when I was teaching in the UK.

I would suggest that a much more balanced view of being disabled in Japan is provided by Josh Grisdale and the website Accessible Japan.

https://www.nippon.com/en/people/e00128/

As the introduction to this article states, "He has cerebral palsy, is quadriplegic, and has used a wheelchair since the age of four. In 2016, he became a Japanese citizen."

He found that unlike some nominally more "progressive" countries, severe disability does not prevent you from acquiring Japanese citizenship.

I have corresponded with Josh Grisdale and he explicitly said that he thinks Japan does at least as well as his native Canada when it comes to people with severe disabilties.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Well, being drunk in a wheel chair or motorised cart is illegal. Just the same as riding a bicycle drunk. As much as it seems to be a case of prejudiced against a minority, it was actually the correct decision and showing good duty-of-care sense.

Bingo. Everybody is always so quick to jump on the discrimination bandwagon. Obviously, discrimination exists against the disabled, LGBTQ+, women, POC, etc. And, true discrimination deserves all the outrage it receives. But, in this case, it was a simple safety issue. (Apparently the defenders here have never seen a person in a wheelchair on an escalator.)

I recently read an article from an obese woman about how she was discriminated against on the Harry Potter ride at California's Universal Studios because she couldn't get the safety bar engaged correctly, and therefor prohibited from going on the ride. Same nonsense.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I have corresponded with Josh Grisdale and he explicitly said that he thinks Japan does at least as well as his native Canada when it comes to people with severe disabilties.

Yup. All along the JR line in my area, they've installed elevators in recent years in stations that didn't already have them. And, they're currently installing safety gates on the platforms which will prevent vision and mobility-impaired users from accidentally falling onto the tracks. (as well as protect able-bodied individuals from being pushed by crazies.)

My town even has those yellow sensory walkways on some sidewalks, ramps at curbs, and the public buildings accommodate wheelchairs. Sure, there are many restaurants that are on 2nd floor walkups over their parking lots with no elevators. That will take time to correct, and I have seen a small number who have retrofitted wheelchair lifts. Although, that probably doesn't help those who use walkers, canes, crutches, etc, which is a lot of people in senior-full Japan. Luckily, our favorite 2nd floor teppanyaki joint has a ramp for my MIL. :-)

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

But, in this case, it was a simple safety issue. (Apparently the defenders here have never seen a person in a wheelchair on an escalator.)

garypen - firstly you are not drunk after 2 glasses of wine or even 3 for that matter.

And no, I have never seen a drunk person in a wheel chair in an escalator.

For that matter, I have never seen a person in a wheelchair on an escalator - how could they??

I imagine this man would have taken the elevator down.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Wouldn’t want the person in the wheelchair to get drunk and run someone over or get arrested for driving a wheelchair under the influence:-/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wouldn’t want the person in the wheelchair to get drunk and run someone over or get arrested for driving a wheelchair under the influence:-/

And you wouldn't want anyone getting in a car under the influence and running someone over. And you wouldn't want a drunk person falling over and injuring themselves or another.

So what is your point?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

His complaint noted that the act was "unjust discrimination"

I really wish Japan would take a harder look at the HUGE yet ignored problem with discrimination. He didn't ask nor did he choose to be in a wheelchair, the same as how foreigners didn't ask to be or didn't choose to be what race they are. I hope he wins this case and awarded alot more than he is asking for.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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