Regardless of their qualifications or level of abilities it’s important to note that disabled individuals across Japan have long experienced difficulty when it comes to entering the job market. A variety of Japanese firms and businesses are slow to hire disabled people. While there are decades-old laws that require the majority of companies in Japan to higher on a certain percentage of disabled workers, there is still very little in the way of diversity in the workplace.

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has a plan to improve the labor force by increasing diversity across Japan but even in a labor crunch there are many Japanese companies that are slow with the uptake on this new initiative.

When speaking to many citizens of Japan who happen to be disabled, often their job hunt is extended by months if not years. Even when applying to hundreds of potential positions they may only hear back from just a few. Getting a job really isn’t easy and there are very few resources available for disabled job candidates. Today however there have been a number of job consulting companies that support disabled individuals in their employment search. Hopefully initiatives like this will work to improve the employment rate in Japan amongst working age people with disabilities.

The population wide employment rate in Japan stands at 60% whereas in a 2011 report on disability just 25% of disabled people were working. Finding jobs available for individuals that are willing to work is absolutely essential to improving the nation’s economy and for filling positions which are being ushered out by an aging population and low birth rate.

Productivity gains are required for economic momentum and the nation’s productivity has stalled within the past two decades. Japan has always been a leader in world economies but without drastic policy solutions Japan could face future economic difficulties. Perhaps a greater focus on diversity in the workplace and assistance for disabled individuals who want to work could make a large impact.

Source: The Japan Times

Image of a phone displaying a person with a prosthetic leg hiking, with text promoting a community for travelers with disabilities on tabifolk.

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