June 7th 2019
TOKYO – The Japanese parliament on Friday passed a bill to toughen monitoring of the hiring of disabled workers after government ministries and agencies were found last year to have inflated their hiring figures to meet legal quotas for national-level public bodies.
The revised law on promoting the employment of people with disabilities gives the labor ministry the power to urge state organs and municipalities to take corrective action if it finds them to have reported false employment rates of disabled workers.
Public institutions and private businesses will also be required to retain documents such as photocopies of disability certificates, which would be reviewed by the ministry.
The new measures introduced under the amended law will be implemented in stages by April next year.
The government has said it will employ about 4,000 people with disabilities by the end of this year to meet the quota and had already hired over 2,500 as of April. But it is facing difficulties in retaining them as already about 130 people have left.
Under the new law, state organs and municipalities will create plans covering two to five years for promoting disabled worker participation and report once a year on progress in following the plans.
The central and local governments will also be obliged to notify labor authorities when terminating the employment of disabled workers so they can quickly receive support to secure another job.
The law was amended after a government panel in October found 3,700 people, including those retired and even dead, were inappropriately counted as part of the total workforce at 28 of the 33 national administrative entities it surveyed.
The actual percentage of people with disabilities in the workforces of national-level public bodies, including staff at parliament and courts, as of June 2018 stood at 1.22 percent, far below the legal quota of 2.5 percent.