National

Japan's government adopts bill to prevent padding of disabled employment figures

JIJI

Lawmakers at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday adopted a bill intended to prevent government ministries, agencies and other public organizations from overstating the employment of disabled people.

Under the bill, which amends the law on promoting the employment of people with disabilities and will now move to the Diet, public organizations will be required to preserve documents used to determine whether a job candidate is recognized as having disabilities.

Also, the labor ministry will be granted review and advisory powers to check whether such agencies are employing disabled people according to the rules.

The bill also includes further measures to promote the employment of people with disabilities.

The government will set up a benefits system for private-sector companies that employ disabled people working between 10 and 20 hours a week. Through the system, the government hopes to encourage firms to employ people with mental disabilities who struggle to work long hours.

It will also create a system to accredit smaller businesses that are proactive about employing disabled people.

Public institutions will be obliged to draw up and announce plans on employing disabled people. The bill calls on them to make efforts to improve their work environment by appointing officials to oversee such matters, as well as counselors.

In addition to the measures approved at the Cabinet meeting, the government has decided to introduce penalties for central government ministries and agencies, such as reducing their personnel budgets, if they fail to meet the legally required employment rate for people with disabilities.

That plan was decided at a meeting of related ministers, held before the Cabinet meeting.

“The government must work as one to handle the matter properly,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at the meeting.

Last year, central government ministries and agencies were found to have overstated the number of employees with disabilities by a total of 3,700 as of June 2017.

A number of missteps by ministries and agencies were revealed, such as concluding that a person was disabled from the results of medical examinations without checking disability certificates or other necessary documents.