Facilities for people with disabilities in Japan are facing severe labor shortages, a recent survey by a group supporting the disabled showed, affected by low wages and a shrinking workforce as Japan's population ages.

Only 53.5 percent of openings for regular employees were filled at such facilities in fiscal 2022, far below the average of 81.3 percent at private firms and government institutions hiring new graduates this year, Kyosaren said.

The figure for openings filled for nonregular workers was only slightly higher at 59.9 percent, according to the organization, which surveyed 1,047 facilities including those providing employment support, life nursing care and development assistance for children.

"The chronic shortages of workers have a direct impact on supporting users," the group said in September when it released the results of the survey, cited as examples cuts to bathing provision at group homes and shorter hours for home visits by nurses.

"The labor shortages will clearly reduce necessary assistance for people with disabilities and cause a situation that prevents them from living a normal life," it said.

The survey, conducted between June and August, was taken as the group, joined by around 1,860 entities nationwide, seeks a rise in state funding for welfare services for disabled people. The government plans to revise its level of funding next year for the first time in three years.

In the survey, many facilities pointed out that they are struggling to secure young workers and that existing employees are facing a bigger burden, leading some of them to quit.

According to the welfare ministry, Japan's budget for welfare services for the disabled has grown over threefold in the past 15 years after new legislation came into force in 2006.

But the country's public spending for people with disabilities as a percentage of gross domestic product has been very low at 0.7 percent to 1.2 percent compared with around 2.0 percent averaged by members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Kyosaren argues that the small amount of government spending on policies for the disabled has led to low wages for employees in the sector.

The group calls on the government to seek a "fundamental solution" to the labor shortage and improve working conditions for workers by raising its spending on related expenses to a level exceeding 2 percent of GDP.