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More local gov't bodies inflated number of people with disabilities in employ

In a widening scandal in which central government ministries and agencies as well as local governments were found to have padded their employment rates of those with disabilities, additional prefectural governments and other public bodies came forward on Aug. 23 to admit that they had been doing the same thing.

The Ibaraki and Nagano prefectural governments announced that they had employed numbers of people with disabilities that were below the legal minimum ratio.

When the prefectural government of Ibaraki north of Tokyo and the Ibaraki Prefectural Board of Education calculated their employment rate of people with disabilities in fiscal 2017, they included 118 people whose disability status was unconfirmed in their reports to the national government. Of the total, 34 were in various departments under the governor's supervision, six were in the hospitals bureau, and 78 were in the prefectural board of education. All were hired via general employment procedures, and calculations for the employment rate of disabled staff were made without confirming whether the workers had government-issued disability certificates, relying instead on what they said about their conditions.

The Nagano Prefectural Government in central Japan, meanwhile, included in their calculations 11 employees who self-reported having disabilities but did not have government-issued disability certificates. The reported rate came out to 2.56 percent in fiscal 2018, but the actual rate was 2.34 percent, dipping below the legal minimum of 2.5 percent. The Nagano Prefectural Police had also included a staffer who did not have a government-issued disability certificate in its pool of disabled hires.

The Sapporo Municipal Government, in the capital of Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido, meanwhile, included employees who developed disabilities after they were employed without checking if they had acquired government-issued disability certificates. The numbers of such employees is unknown, and the number of staff considered "disabled" who do or do not have government-issued certificates cannot be confirmed at this time.

The prefectural board of education in the western prefecture of Tokushima announced that it had reported to the central government that between the 2016 and 2018 academic years, it had nine to 14 employees with disabilities without checking their government-issued disability certificates as stipulated by national guidelines. The board claimed that it made the decision to report disabilities based on self-reporting and interviews, and not through checking government certificates, out of concern for privacy.

The Fukui Prefectural Police in northwestern Japan also announced that between fiscal 2015 and fiscal 2017, it had included people in its total without confirming disability certificates. It had reported to the government that for each of the three fiscal years, it had eight employees with disabilities, but only one could be confirmed to have a government-issued disability certificate. "We were lacking in awareness regarding the calculation method," said a Fukui Prefectural Police representative.

The Nagasaki Prefectural Police in southern Japan, meanwhile, revealed that it had inadvertently padded its employment rate of people with disabilities. The rate for prefectural police forces is calculated without including police officers, but officers who had government-issued disability certificates who were likely to be switched to other job types were included in the calculation.

"We had no intention of padding our numbers, but what we did was inappropriate," the police force said, and offered an apology. The prefectural police had used the same calculation method since at least the 2007 fiscal year.

(Japanese original by Takuya Yoshida, Mito Bureau, Kenta Suzuki, Nagano Bureau, and Ayane Matsuyama, Tokushima Bureau)

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