Nearly 30 percent of job applicants have reported being subjected to sexism and about 15 percent to inappropriate questions or remarks, according to a new survey by Rengo (The Japanese Trade Union Confederation).

Numerous applicants reported being asked or told during job interviews, “Are you going to take maternity or child-rearing leave?” and “You are fat, aren’t you?”

Rengo reported the results of an Internet survey of job-seekers on its website on May 15, the first time it has conducted such a survey.

In April, it surveyed 1,000 men and women nationwide aged from 18 to 29 who have taken an employment examination and been interviewed within the past three years.

Some 145 respondents, or 14.5 percent, said, “I have been subjected to an inappropriate question or comment during a job interview."

Of these, a 20-year-old woman complained that she had been told, “As you are a woman, you will be leaving for childbirth or rearing a child, won’t you?”

Respondents reported being asked personal questions related to romance or marriage such as, “Do you have a girlfriend? How long has it been since you had a girlfriend?” which was said to a 29-year-old man.

Another type of inappropriate comment touched on physical appearances including, “You are short,” to a 23-year-old man and “You are fat,” to a 21-year-old woman.

Regarding the categories of companies whose interviewers made such inappropriate comments, the service or hospitality industry, including restaurants, sightseeing agencies and hotels, accounted for 17.9 percent, the highest.

The manufacturing industry and those dealing with metals totaled 16.6 percent, the second highest, followed by the financial, insurance or real estate industry with 13.1 percent, and information and publishing industry with 12.4 percent. Multiple responses were allowed for the question.

In addition, 28.3 percent of all respondents said, “I have felt subjected to sexism during a job interview.”

Asked for a detailed explanation, 43.8 percent said, “The numbers of applicants to be hired differed between men and women,” and 42.4 percent said, “The kinds of jobs differed between genders.”

The labor ministry states that deciding whether to hire applicants based on items that are not relevant to their qualifications or ability is inappropriate and can lead to employment discrimination.