National

Japanese government starts accepting exam applications from people with disabilities

JIJI

The National Personnel Authority began accepting applications on Monday for the first-ever unified examinations to hire people with disabilities as government workers.

The exams will be conducted in the wake of an investigation that found central government ministries and agencies had padded the number of disabled employees to meet legally required levels.

Through the exams, which comprise first-round paper tests set for February and subsequent interviews by separate government bodies, a total of 676 people will be hired. The successful applicants will be announced on March 22.

The authority said people can take the exams if two or more years have passed since their junior high school graduation and they have certificates stating their disabilities. Applications will be accepted until Dec. 14.

The paper tests, to be held in Tokyo, Osaka and seven other cities, will ask takers to answer high school-level questions about general matters and write an essay. Braille answer sheets and other special measures, such as approval for guide dogs and the use of personal computers, will be available upon advance request.

A joint job explanation session held late last month by government ministries and agencies was swamped with more applicants than expected, indicating disabled people’s high interest in the upcoming exams.

The central government aims to hire about 4,000 disabled people as full-time and part-time employees by the end of next year.