• Kyodo

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The number of cases in which disabled people were abused by their employers decreased 13.4 percent in the year ending March 2017, the labor ministry said Wednesday.

A total of 972 people working at 581 organizations were victimized over the period, according to ministry statistics.

The decrease is attributed to a wider recognition in workplaces of a 2012 law aimed at combating abuse of workers with disabilities and increased enforcement efforts by labor standards inspectors.

Most of the victims had been exploited economically, such as being forced to work for pay below the minimum wage. Some victims were subjected to psychological abuse, such as verbal attacks, while others were abused physically, including being held against their will.

An intellectually impaired woman in her 20s reported being called names, such as “pay stealer” when her performance at work slowed, and a man in his 60s with impaired hearing was abused through sign language when he made an error at work, according to the ministry.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry last year announced that 970 handicapped people had been found to have been mistreated by their employers or bosses in their workplaces in the year ended March 2016, but the figure actually rose to 1,123 when using a new calculation method.

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