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At least 11 local governments in Japan admit reporting incorrect data on their employment of disabled staff

JIJI, Kyodo

At least 11 Japanese local governments have been found to have padded data on the proportion of people with disabilities on their payrolls.

The education board of Tochigi Prefecture said Wednesday they had included workers who were taking leave due to mental illnesses as employees with disabilities without confirming that they held disability certificates or medical reports issued by doctors.

On Tuesday, the Nagasaki Prefectural Government and the Matsuyama Municipal Government in Ehime Prefecture said they had included people that should not be counted under labor ministry guidelines when calculating the employment rates.

Since allegations of such practices by central government agencies emerged last week, similar practices have been found at authorities in Akita, Yamagata, Chiba, Shizuoka, Shimane, Ehime and Kochi prefectures, as well as the education board of Saitama Prefecture.

Previously the Nagasaki government reported its employment rate for disabled people as 2.51 percent as of June. After recalculations based on the guidelines, the rate is put at 2.06 percent, which stands below the legally required level of 2.5 percent.

The rate recalculated by the Akita government is 2.39 percent, down from 2.55 percent, and the revised rate for the Shizuoka government is 1.9 percent, down from 2.61 percent.

The law to promote the employment of disabled people obliges central government agencies, local governments and private-sector companies to hire disabled people so that their representation on total payrolls reaches certain levels.

The guidelines require the employers to confirm workers’ disabilities in principle by checking their disability certificates.

Fines are imposed on companies that fail to reach the required level, but there are no such fines for government agencies.

Nagasaki and Matsuyama officials have claimed that problems occurred because their governments did not understand the guidelines well. They denied that the rates were boosted intentionally.