special feature Special Needs Employment

Work Happiness Farms help realize
normalization while supporting social
and employment independence for
people with disabilities


To realize normalization so that people with disabilities can live normal lives as members of their communities, the Act to Facilitate the Employment of Persons with Disabilities requires Japanese companies to employ certain numbers of people with disabilities. While the number of companies actively employing people with disabilities is growing, hiring tends to focus on people with physical disabilities. Employment of those with intellectual and mental disabilities remains low due to a belief that few jobs are suited to their abilities. Employment of people with intellectual disabilities in particular is very low, a major impediment to their economic independence.
Under these conditions, S-Pool Plus, Inc. launched Work Happiness Farms, the first farms in Japan intended to be leased to companies that want to help people with disabilities work with vitality in rewarding and enjoyable jobs. This reflects its vision of contributing to society by creating employment for as many people with disabilities as it can.

Employment rate for people with
disabilities aged 18–65


* Source: Cabinet Office of Japan, Annual Report on Government Measures for Persons with Disabilities (Summary) 2022

Workplaces where people with disabilities can work with vitality,
with a retention rate of 92%

Work Happiness Farms are farms owned by S-Pool Plus and leased to multiple companies as places where their employees with disabilities can work. Based on their motto of safety and cleanliness, they offer environments in which even those with severe intellectual disabilities can work with peace of mind.
They provide companies not just with places of employment, but support from people with disabilities to hiring and retention. They make significant contributions to employment creation in the community by recruiting homemakers and senior citizens who live in the local area as managers assigned to the farms by companies.
As of February 2024, the number of Work Happiness Farms had grown to a total of 48 nationwide. As of February 2024, the number of companies using the farms had grown to 618, chiefly consisting of large firms, which provide regular employment for some 3,867 people with disabilities. Of the companies that use Work Happiness Farms, 97% are continuous users. The retention rate among those with disabilities working at the farms has been 92% over the past 12 years.

Striving for a structure that makes everybody happy

The birth of Work Happiness Farms has provided regular employment for some 3,800 people with disabilities. But a look across Japanese society as a whole shows that rates of employment of those with intellectual and mental disabilities remain low, and many people with disabilities are able to earn only about 10,000–20,000 yen per month in workshops and similar workplaces. In addition, the statutory rate of employees with disabilities will raise to 2.7% in July 2026, requiring companies to employ even more people with disabilities. In not a few cases, however, this has resulted in mismatches between those with disabilities and their job assignments.
We are expanding Work Happiness Farms with the aim of realizing a society in which all people with disabilities can work with vitality and in comfort. We also will create structures to enable those with disabilities to work in ways suited to their own individuality, not just in agriculture but in other fields as well. Our goal is to build a society in which all people can experience true work happiness.


Use of Work Happiness Farms has promoted employment of people with disabilities and inspired new awareness among employees

Our company is a special subsidiary of SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., established in April 2015 to provide a working environment in which people with disabilities can demonstrate their potential to the fullest and promote their employment. In September 2015, as the number of employees expanded and employees with disabilities grew older, we opened MiRun Farm at Work Happiness Farm Ichihara (Chiba Prefecture). In 2016 we launched the normalization training program using this farm. To date, this popular training program has been held about 180 times, training some 700 people. It is succeeding in making the hearts of trainee employees “barrier free.”
I feel in my heart that MiRun Farm is a place where the following two elements of the SMBC Nikko Securities Group's Management Philosophy are put into practice: “To seek to be a company that grows together with our customers, and inspires their supreme trust” and “To create a work environment in which each employee demonstrates individuality under a sense of unity, while respecting diversity.”

SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.

Osamu Matsukawa
SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
Nikko MiRun Inc.