Japanese news daily The Mainichi has found that nineteen prefectures did not train staff officers in welfare facilities in handling people with disabilities. The central government made the recommendation to train these staff members for the year 2014, but these prefectures have failed to follow such proposals.
Many people with autism or serious mental disabilities have a hard time expressing themselves, which often results in self-abuse or assault on others. While this kind only makes up 1% of the total number of people with disabilities, around 10% of such have been abused. At the Sodegaura welfare center in Chiba Prefecture, which recently caught local attention because of a staff member who fatally kicked a 19-year-old resident, it was discovered that at least 15 staff members inflicted abuse on the residents, especially those with serious mental disabilities. The former staff member admitted to police that, “When the boy made some noise, I gave him a warning. But he didn’t listen to me and my stress just peaked.” The Chiba Prefectural Government blames “workers’ poor support skills” in the incident.
While the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has allotted training for welfare employees by the end of March 2014, the national government did not allocate a budget for the 32-hour lecture and activities prepared. The decision to proceed with the training was then left to the prefectural governments, from which 19 stated they have no plans to conduct such training this year. Some, like Iwate Prefecture, cited that “more funds are needed to provide effective training,” while Kochi noted the desire for “the national government to re-examine the salaries for welfare workers handling people with major behavioral disabilities so that we can acquire workers with expertise.” Chiba Prefecture, on the other hand, has decided to come up with its own training program, while Shiga increased the wages of welfare center employees even without the national government’s funding.