The number of people with disabilities who found work through public job-placement offices hit a record high for the third consecutive year in fiscal 2012 that ended in March, according to the latest government data.
The figure was up 15.1 percent from the previous year to 68,321, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Wednesday.
“The increase is due to a growing number of companies that actively hired disabled people ahead of April this year,” when the country introduced tighter rules designed to promote the employment of such people, a ministry official said.
A total of 26,573 people with physical impairments found new jobs during fiscal 2012, up 6.9 percent, while 16,030 people with intellectual disabilities were newly employed, up 11.9 percent.
The number of new hires of mentally disabled people increased 26.6 percent to 23,861.
All three figures were record highs.
By industry, medical and welfare companies added the largest number of disabled people, with 18,753, followed by wholesale and retail firms with 10,308 and manufacturers with 9,589.
The number of disabled people who lost jobs during the year rose 22.8 percent to 1,539, the first increase in four years, due largely to restructuring at electronics firms.
The country last month raised the minimum legal requirement for the proportion of disabled people in the overall company workforce to 2.0 percent from 1.8 percent.
As of last June, the proportion of disabled people in the country’s overall workforce was at 1.69 percent.
“To encourage hiring, we will provide more information about the employment of disabled people,” a ministry official said.