II. - 4.Vocational Training and Employment

a. Comprehensive Assistance

As for vocational integration, work preparation training services to job seekers with disabilities are provided free of charge; research is being implemented on vocational integration services tailored to persons with diverse disabilities; and specialists in vocational integration have been trained.

In addition, juridical entities including those designated as "Employment Support Centers for Persons with Disabilities" have carried out comprehensive consultation and support services to persons with disabilities who have great difficulty in being employed at a municipal level since 1994. These services have ranged from employment to support in settling down in a working environment. In addition, with the increase of persons with intellectual or mental disabilities who want to work and need assistance in finding a job and adapting to a work environment, in 2002 social welfare corporations, including "Work and Life Support Centers for Persons with Disabilities," have started supporting these persons comprehensively in an integrated manner in both work and daily life at local level.

In order to promote the employment of persons with severe disabilities, from 1991 to 1998, a project team was organized, comprising local parties in various fields related to persons with disabilities, such as prefectural administrative bodies for education, welfare, and skills development, etc., and organizations for persons with disabilities. With cooperation from corporations who had experience of employing persons with disabilities, case studies were compiled of employment of persons with severe disabilities in order to disseminate information about good examples.

To promote employment of persons with severe disabilities, since 1993, we have encouraged joint capital contributions by local public bodies and private enterprises (the third sector approach) to enable the utilization of the private sector's dynamism and know-how.

b. Vocational Aptitude Development

Japan has long been promoting the employment of persons with disabilities, obliging all employers to employ a fixed quota of persons with disabilities or more under the "Employment Quota System for Persons with Disabilities."

In such circumstances, the government initiated a "Vocational Aptitude Development Support Program" from 1992 to 2001. This program aimed to promote persons with severe disabilities to acquire basic work habits and adjust themselves to the working environment. The program was conducted at the workplace, where persons with severe disabilities would engage in specific and practical work, with vocational and technical support and support for integration. This program evolved into the "Job Coaching Program" in 2002. In this program, "Job Coaches" are sent to the workplaces where persons with intellectual or mental disabilities who have difficulty in smooth communication with others work, and give detailed personnel assistance, not only during employment, but at other times also.

To promote opportunities for general employment of persons with disabilities, and promote the transition of persons with disabilities to general employment, since 2001 we have encouraged short-term (three-month) trial employment in the "Program of Creating Employment Opportunities for the Persons with Disabilities".

Also since 2001, the government has implemented a "Model Program on Promoting Employment of Persons with Mental Disabilities Through Group Working" under which a group of people with mental disabilities works for a specified number of days at a center, which is active in supporting life in the community for persons with mental disabilities, and is linked to work experience.

Since 2001 the conditions concerning the number of disabled personnel has been eased for small-scale companies and firms in order that they can acquire cooperative status. To support stabilizing their operation, a part of operating expenses have been subsidized by the National Treasury since 2001.

c. Job Consultation Support

In addition to prior services at the Public Employment Security Offices and Vocational Center for the disabled, we carry out following programs.

In the "Program on Promotion of Vocational Independence of Persons with Disabilities", to promote vocational independence of persons with disabilities, the Government provides families of persons with disabilities and people working for medical, health or welfare institution with information about employment opportunities for persons with disabilities, as well as consult them on vocational independence of persons with disabilities (persons with intellectual disabilities: 1998-, persons with physical or mental disabilities: 2002-)

d. Human Resources Development

The Government has been reviewing its training courses and curriculum as well as renewing equipment responding to the needs of employers, while taking into consideration each disability's characteristics and degree at the Human Resources Development Center for the Disabled.

In addition, there are some study sessions for trainers who take charge of vocational training for persons with disabilities, and they also meet to exchange devices for and means of working on vocational training for persons with disabilities at polytechnic colleges, etc.

Moreover, as for persons with disabilities who are able to take vocational training with persons without disabilities, the Government promotes acceptance of these persons into general public human resources development facilities along with improving accessibility of facilities and equipment for persons with disabilities.

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