Tokyo: An estimated 800,000 new recruits marked their first business day nationwide on Monday, the first weekday of Japan's new fiscal year, after surviving a difficult job-hunting season in the aftermath of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
   
As of February 1, 80.5 percent of college students had found jobs ahead of their March graduation, up 3.1 percentage points from the previous year, when the figure fell to its lowest level since 2000 when comparable data became available, according to the labor ministry.
   
Companies and administrative offices in the disaster-hit Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures also welcomed their new members.
   
"Let's move forward the reconstruction of Iwate by fully using all of your knowledge and experience," said Iwate Gov Takuya Tasso at a ceremony to accept about 170 fresh staff.
   
In the tsunami-ravaged Onagawa Town in Miyagi Prefecture, Yuka Abe, 18, who joined seafood product maker Takamasa Co, said, "I want to become a mature staff member as soon as possible to support my town's recovery."
   
Among high school graduates in the three prefectures, 92.5 percent in Iwate had received job offers before graduation as of the end of January, up 2.8 points from a year earlier, while 88.1 percent had done so in Miyagi, up 17.2 points, and 88.7 percent in Fukushima, up 7.8 points.
   
The employment situation in the three prefectures improved from the previous year due to recruitment support measures for students by businesses mainly in the metropolitan area.
   
Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, shelved hiring of new recruits for the first time since its establishment in 1951 and has decided to cancel recruitment for fiscal 2013 as well.


(Agencies)