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Initiatives to Promote "Barrier–Free" and "Universal Design"

Based on factors such as the demographic aging of the population and social demands for improvements in accessibility at facilities utilized by many people, Mizuho has been advancing its "Heartful Project" since 2005 with the aim of improving ease of usage for its customers. From 2016, on the basis of the Law on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, we will be endeavoring to move forward with further activities to promote barrier–free interiors and universal design projects. In addition, MHBK has been making further progress with Heartful Project initiatives and, since 2010, developing "Mizuho Heartful Business" in support of initiatives toward barrier–free and universal design features for its customers.

Banks That Anyone Can Use Conveniently

Banks That Anyone Can Use Conveniently

With a view to becoming a "bank that is easy for anyone to use, regardless of age, gender, or disability," MHBK has been promoting the Heartful Project since 2005. We are engaging in further barrier–free and universal design initiatives from three aspects: facility–related initiatives covering branches, facilities, and equipment; service–related initiatives covering customer forms and documents as well as Internet content; and psychological initiatives involving education and training to improve customer relations skills. Additionally, we display service marks on our website of branch information and at branch entrances to let customers know the status of each branch with regard to these initiatives.


Barrier–free Status of Each Branch Indicated at the Branch Entrance

Since fiscal 2013, MHTB and MHSC have been moving forward with activities to promote barrier–free interiors and universal design projects in accordance with their business and customer characteristics.

Facility–Related Initiatives

Tackling Improvements Based on Its Own Original Specifications

Using the Tokyo Metropolitan Government's Barrier–Free Building Ordinance as a reference, MHBK has drawn up its own "Branch Improvement Standards" and is adopting universal design principles for its branch facilities. These standards have established eight priority items known as the "Eight Basic Specs." Improvements have been completed for all branch facilities for four of the eight specifications.

Eight Basic Specs: Adoption Rates (Work completed at 456 manned branches as of March 31, 2016)
bar graph
  • *The total does not include branches where these facilities are not required, such as single–story branches.
  • photo1

    Doorways have been widened and doors automated to improve access for wheelchair users.

  • photo2

    This counter provides ample room for wheelchair users.

  • photo3

    Parking space is provided for use by wheelchair users.

  • photo4

    Tactile paving helps the visually impaired enter our branches.

  • photo5

    ATM handsets provide voice guidance for the visually impaired.

  • photo6

    The ATM card and passbook slots are indicated by braille.

Using MHBK's branch improvement standards as a reference, MHTB has drawn up the Mizuho Trust Bank Heartful Branch Improvement Standards and is advancing initiatives in accordance with factors, such as branch layouts, on the basis of those standards. MHSC is likewise making progress with initiatives geared toward its branch layouts.

Introduction of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)

Automated external defibrillators (AEDs) are installed at all MHBK, MHTB (excluding some sub–branches), and MHSC sales branches, and first–aid training programs are conducted from time to time for employees that include explanations on how to use an AED.

Service–Related Initiatives

Progress in Introducing People–friendly Tools

In addition to providing the means by which to use a range of services, such as telephone banking and Internet banking, that utilize and give consideration to users of text–to–speech software, MHBK has made available tools and services that assist smooth communications with customers, including with the visually or hearing impaired and non–Japanese. MHBK is also constantly devising improvements to make its forms and documents as well as ATMs easier for customers to use.

Tools and Services to Assist Smooth Communications
Tools/Services Where Available
"Ear Mark Signs"
Signs that offer guidance by enabling written communication
"Whiteboards for Written Communications"
photo1 All MHBK and MHTB branches nationwide
"Communication Boards"
Pictographs show content of transactions and procedures.
photo2 All MHBK branches nationwide
All MHTB branches nationwide
"Interpreting Service for Non–Japanese Customers"
Interpreting Service in English, Chinese, and Korean, for which a Tablet Computer is Utilized
photo3 Six MHBK Tokyo Branch Locations
(As of August 31, 2016)
Ginza, Roppongi, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Ebisu, and Yaesu
"Selectable Text Size"
Enables the size of the website text to be selected from three options.
"Voice Browser Compatible"
Websites configured in a way that enables compatibility with a voice browser.
photo4 Mizuho Financial Group, MHBK, MHTB, and MHSC websites
"Notices in Braille"
Information about ordinary savings balances, transaction details, and time deposit maturity date notification compiled in Braille.

ATM Screens That Show Universal Design Considerations

When upgrading its ATM screens, MHBK bases the changes on opinions gained from customers, incorporates universal design elements, such as in the screen layout and color configuration, and also obtains "authenticated verification of ease of usage" from Jitsuken, the finance industry's first user research organization. In addition to incorporating universal design elements in the layout or color configuration, MHBK devises ongoing improvements to its ATM screens based on customer feedback.



Conscientiously Serving the Needs of the Disabled

MHBK and MHTB regulations now formally specify that customers with visual or other impairments must be assisted in completing procedures at service counters by having Mizuho staff read or write on their behalf.

We have also taken steps to provide enhanced services to the visually impaired, who cannot easily use an ATM for cash transfers, and customers in wheelchairs by confirming their needs when they arrive at a branch and then responding to them at a service counter. At the same time, a new lower cash transfer service–fee level, similar to the ATM usage fee, is charged for the provision of these services. (Eligibility for application of this fee may be confirmed by inspection of the customer's physical disability certificate at the time of the transaction.)

Psychological Initiatives

To Raise the Awareness of Each Employee, We Provide Training to Encourage Employees to Think on Their Own

Believing that heightened awareness among individual employees is essential to remain a bank that satisfies its various customers, MHBK is promoting efforts to incorporate ingenuity and thoughtfulness in its day–to–day customer contacts and improving responses when welcoming and waiting on its customers. Specifically, we have created and issued our own manual — common to all employees and members of staff working in main branches — to assist our responses to customers with disabilities, elderly customers, pregnant customers, and others with special needs, and implement training using a video and other instructional tools. In particular, to be able to respond appropriately from the viewpoint of customers with disabilities, the spirit of the Law on the Elimination of Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities is incorporated into the manual in conjunction with the running of training programs.

As customers' ages differ depending on the location, for instance, the employees at each branch hold discussions and determine initiatives that are compatible with the characteristics of their branch. Since fiscal 2012, as part of our initiatives designed to improve response capabilities toward the elderly, we have conducted "dementia supporter" training courses that include practical content such as role play for lobby concierges and teller staff. In addition, we compile and share booklets that contain advice and case studies for staff who come into contact with elderly customers, and these booklets are utilized in training programs and to improve responses at each branch location.

We have also established the general rule that advisors at head office customer points of contact and branch lobby concierges be holders of the Care–Fitter qualification.

To gain the trust and satisfaction of elderly customers and customers with disabilities, MHTB conducts periodic training for all staff in the welcoming and waiting on of customers with disabilities. We also conduct "dementia supporter" training courses in lobby training.

At MHSC, initiatives are conducted to improve the manners and responsiveness of staff to enable them to give proper services to customers, including the elderly. To enhance the level and responsiveness of services at branches, which are the interface between MHSC and its customers, a Branch Operations Manual has been prepared, and, to give guidance on proper customer treatment, MHSC has issued a guidebook entitled Basic Business Manners. In addition, for customers who have special issues that need to be addressed, MHSC also conducts a range of training programs to enable its staff to respond politely and to make improvements related to various issues with a clear understanding of the customer's perspective. Since fiscal 2015, MHSC has primarily been promoting the "dementia supporter" initiative among sales branch employees. Also, in each of its offices and branches, MHSC has identified issues related to customer satisfaction (CS), and, through holding periodic discussion sessions, endeavors to increase awareness among employees and work toward improvements.


Training That Utilizes a Wheelchair


Seniors Support Training That Utilizes Simulated Experience Equipment

  Number of Holders of Care–Fitter Level 2 Certification
(As of March 31, 2016)
Number of Dementia Supporter Training Course Participants
(Cumulative Total as of March 31, 2016)
MHBK / MHTB / MHSC More than 300 people More than 7,600 people


Initiatives Win Awards

MHBK has won praise for its multidimensional barrier–free initiatives and has had its efforts recognized with prizes awarded by local governments and organizations.

Awards Received
Date Sponsor Name of Commendation or Award
Dec 2006 Tokyo Metropolitan Government Won the commendation from the Governor of Tokyo in recognition of its contribution to welfare services for 2006.
Mar 2009 Aichi Prefecture Won the "14th People–friendly Town Planning Prize"
Nov 2009 Kanagawa Prefecture Won the "Second Barrier–free Urban Development Award"
Jan 2010 Hokkaido Won the "Welfare Community Development Award for 2009"
Feb 2010 Japan Facility Management Promotion Association Won the "Fourth Japan Facility Management Grand Prize (JFMA Prize) Encouragement Award"
Jun 2010 Nagano Prefecture Won the Fiscal 2010 Social Welfare Prize (Barrier–free urban development category)
Jan 2011 Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Won the "Fourth Award for Promoting Barrier–free"
Mar 2012 Hyogo Prefecture Been named the first recipient of the "Hyogo Prefecture Citizens Universal Facility" certification