National

Number of people with disabilities working at Japanese firms tops 500,000 for first time

JIJI

The number of people with disabilities working at private-sector companies in Japan as of June 1 last year topped 500,000 for the first time, a survey by the labor ministry has showed.

The number of workers with disabilities increased 7.9 percent from the previous year to 534,769.5, accounting for a record 2.05 percent of the total workforce — up 0.08 percentage point and the first reading above 2 percent.

Part-time workers were counted in the workforce survey, published Tuesday, as 0.5.

The growth came as the legally obliged proportion of workers with disabilities on payrolls was raised from 2.0 percent to 2.2 percent in April 2018, according to the ministry.

But only 45.9 percent of all companies met the legal standard, down 4.1 points.

Of the workers with disabilities, the number of people with physical disabilities rose 3.8 percent to 346,208, while the number of those with intellectual disabilities increased 7.9 percent to 121,166.5 and that of those with mental disabilities surged 34.7 percent to 67,395.

Companies are required by law to hire people with disabilities. Fines are imposed if companies fail to achieve a proportion of such workers that meets the legally set threshold, while subsidies are paid to those that satisfy the requirement.

The survey on the employment of people with disabilities is usually released in December. Due to a computer system problem, however, the release of the survey for 2018 was delayed.

The proportion of people with disabilities working at government offices stood at 1.22 percent, lower than the figure for the private sector. The government was reported earlier to have padded data for such workers.

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