I often wondered in my youth why disabled people wanted to work so enthusiastically, because I thought some of them could live in protective institutions without any anxiety.
However, a monk I met at an anniversary memorial service told me that human beings feel happiness mainly under four conditions: when they are loved, praised, relied on by somebody, or feel needed in society.
The monk added that being loved could be accomplished in protective facilities but that the other three conditions were supposedly brought about through work, which encourages humans to live. Hearing this, I was ashamed of what I used to think.
Japan is an old, highly developed country, and its gross domestic product is the third-largest in the world. So it is deplorable that a lot of leading companies in Japan are unable to meet the regulation to employ certain numbers of disabled people and, as a result, pay penalties to the government. Meanwhile, a lot of companies seem bent on conducting ingenious marketing/advertising strategies to enhance their appearance and manage their image.
Now that decent economic growth and prosperity can be seen returning to this country — though we have experienced a long-lasting slowdown — it is high time we focused on employing physically and mentally disabled people.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.