From NHK, Barrier Free Japan
January 7 2023
HIROSHIMA – The “Hiroshima Abilympics” was held in Hiroshima City, where people with disabilities compete in customer service, cleaning, and other skills that they have trained for on a daily basis.
The “Hiroshima Abilympics” has been held since 2003 by Hiroshima Prefecture and other organizations to promote employment of people with disabilities. 51 people, including students from special needs schools and people working at companies in the prefecture, participated in the event on the 7th.
The Abilympics (Olympics of Abilities) are competitions of vocational skills and abilities specifically designed for persons with disabilities to enable them to demonstrate and develop their talents.
In 1972, the Japan Association for Employment of the Disabled (JEED), held the “Olympics of Abilities”, with the aim to improve the vocational abilities of persons with disabilities.
A decade later the first International Abilympics was held in Japan in 1981, the competition has then gone from strength to strength, increasing its world profile and relevance.
Abilympics takes workskills competition to an international level where the quality of the finished work is the only item judged.
At the event in Hiroshima, contestants competed in eight events, including a “coffee shop service” event in which they were judged on their politeness and smoothness in taking orders and serving items to customers in a mock store.
In the “Building Cleaning” event, contestants competed in using a vacuum cleaner to clean paper waste from a 4 meter square carpet within a time limit.
According to the Hiroshima Labor Bureau, the percentage of disabled persons employed by private companies in the prefecture was 2.38% as of last June, an increase for 11 consecutive years.
Yoshihide Sasaki, head of the Hiroshima branch of the Organization for Employment of the Elderly, Persons with Disabilities and Job Seekers, which supports the employment of people with disabilities, said, “I hope that through the competition, people will learn about the high level of skills of people with disabilities.
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