Photo/IllutrationSatoshi Sato, left, secretary-general of the Japan National Assembly of Disabled People’s International, speaks on Aug. 21 during a hearing on the suspicion that government ministries padded disability employment figures. (The Asahi Shimbun)

A one-of-a-kind guidebook published last year, “Shogaisha no Shukatsu Gaido” (Job hunting guidebook for people with disabilities), is filled with sound, practical tips.

For instance, readers are advised to mention something in a resume that will surprise the prospective employer.

If a disabled person lists “marathon running” as a hobby, the unexpectedness will likely arouse the interviewer’s interest and lead to a lively conversation.

The author, Taiki Konno, has cerebral palsy. His advice is based on the difficulties he encountered while job hunting and his own experiences as a company employee.

Konno tells his readers to be prepared to talk about their disabilities in their own words. He also recommends them to include in a resume any workplace position they have held, no matter how minor.

“Having a job will change your life dramatically,” Konno asserts.

Reading his guidebook, I could well imagine how seriously his readers must take their job search.

As if their efforts are of little consequence, suspicions have arisen that government ministries and agencies, including the agriculture ministry, the internal affairs ministry and the land ministry, have artificially inflated the numbers of disabled people they employ.

They have likely included workers whose disabilities are mild and who do not qualify for the government’s disabled designation to pad disability employment numbers.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has launched an investigation.

The legally required percentages of disabled workers to be hired by central government entities and private companies are 2.5 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively.

Businesses that fail to meet that quota are strictly reprimanded and fined. Ministries and agencies are not monitored, and one would expect them to act as role models for the private sector.

But that was obviously not the case, as government ministries and agencies appear to have been padding the numbers for many years. This is simply appalling.

The concept of “social solidarity” came to be stressed during the 1970s when major strides were made in the disability employment system.

Are there bureaucrats who think they are above or beyond that social solidarity? The latest revelation appears to have something in common with a recent spate of shameless scandals involving government officials.

--The Asahi Shimbun, Aug. 22

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Vox Populi, Vox Dei is a popular daily column that takes up a wide range of topics, including culture, arts and social trends and developments. Written by veteran Asahi Shimbun writers, the column provides useful perspectives on and insights into contemporary Japan and its culture.