National

Local governments in Japan expanding scope of disabled applicants eligible for public-sector job exams

JIJI

An increasing number of prefectural governments and ordinance-designated major cities are expanding the scope of disabled people eligible to take exams for regular jobs at public-sector offices to include those with mental or intellectual disabilities.

Previously, the job exams had been available to people with physical disabilities.

Local governments are moving to open their employment exams to more people with disabilities, following the revelation last year that central government agencies had padded their numbers of disabled workers.

Prefectures including Iwate, Tokushima, Saga and Kumamoto, and such cities as Chiba, Niigata and Hiroshima, will allow people with mental or intellectual disabilities to take their exams from the current fiscal year, which started April 1.

The prefectures of Kanagawa and Shimane began to do this in fiscal 2018, while Tokyo and Tottori Prefecture made the same move earlier.

Also, as part of efforts to increase employment of people with disabilities, some local governments have raised the maximum age of applicants.

Akita and Kochi prefectures lifted the age limit to 39 from 34, and Oita Prefecture raised it to the same age from the previous 29.

Fukui Prefecture, Yokohama and the city of Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, raised the maximum applicant age to 59.

Meanwhile, Gunma and Nara prefectures have started to allow those living outside the prefecture to take their job exams.

Previously, applicants had to be residents of the respective prefectures, apparently under the local governments’ policies of supporting employment of local disabled residents. But a Nara Prefectural Government official said the requirement was scrapped to enable more people to apply.

This fiscal year, the city of Kyoto started to administer its employment exam for people with disabilities twice a year, in June and September. Previously, the test had been carried out only once every year, in September.

The city also abolished its general knowledge test and instead introduced a basic skills test adopted by private-sector firms for disabled applicants.

“We’d like to reduce the burden on applicants,” a Kyoto Municipal Government official said.

The National Personnel Authority conducted its first unified national public servant exam for people with disabilities between February and March this year. People aged up to 59 with physical, mental or intellectual disabilities were allowed to take it.