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Padding of disabled worker numbers extends to lower house

TOKYO -- The House of Representatives secretariat announced Aug. 29 that it padded the number of its disabled workers in fiscal 2017 and 2018.

The lower house secretariat reported to the health ministry that it was employing 33 disabled people and had thus cleared the legally required ratio of 2.3 percent of workers with disabilities among its total workforce in fiscal 2017. However, 10 of the workers did not qualify as being disabled and the actual number was 23 workers -- working out to a ratio of 1.59 percent.

In the following fiscal year, the office reported having 36.5 disabled people, or 2.51 percent of its total staff, on its payroll, but the actual figure worked out at 20.5 people, or 1.41 percent.

According to the chamber's human resources department, people without government-issued disability certificates and those without medical letters of the same nature were counted among the disabled workers. This mismanagement apparently started around in 1976 when it became legally required to hire disabled people.

Hideki Kobayashi, the head of the HR department denied the over-reporting was intentional, and stated, "We had plenty of opportunities to realize the mistake. We deeply regret what happened." The House of Councillors secretariat and the National Diet Library made similar revelations a day earlier.

(Japanese original by Akira Murao, Political News Department)

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