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Japan: Employers Obligated to Employ More People with Disabilities, Including People with Developmental Disorders

(May 22, 2018) The 2013 amendment (Act No. 46 of 2013, House of Representatives website (in Japanese)) to an employment law aimed at ensuring more disabled people are employed (Act on Promotion of Employment of the Disabled, Act No. 123 of 1960, as amended, Japan e-Gov website (in Japanese) took effect in Japan on April 1, 2018. The other major part of the amendment, regarding prohibition of discrimination in hiring the disabled, had come into force in 2016. (Act No. 46 of 2013, Supp. Provisions.)

The amended Act obligates employers to employ a certain number of disabled people, the number being calculated by multiplying a specified ratio times the total number of employees at the time new employees are to be hired. (Id. art. 43, para. 1.) The ratio is set by a Cabinet Order and periodically reviewed every five years or earlier. (Id. art. 43, para. 2.) The amended Act adds the mentally disabled, including those with developmental disorders, to the required number of disabled people to be hired. (Id. art. 2, para. 1.) Before the amendment took effect, the Act had obligated employers to employ only a certain number of physically and intellectually disabled people.

At the same time as the ratio of disabled employees was raised, the ratio of disabled people to be hired by private businesses was increased from 2.0% to 2.2%. (Enforcement Order of Act on Promotion of Employment of Disabled, Order No. 292 of 1960, amended by Order No. 175 of 2017, art. 9.) The ratio for national and local governments is 2.5%. The ratio for prefectural education committee members is 2.4%. (System of Disabled Employment Ratios, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare website (in Japanese) (last visited May 18, 2018).) By the end of March 2021, the ratio for private businesses will have been increased to 2.3%. (Id.)