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New hires mark first day on the job, many online participation ceremonies

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Many new hires at public offices, businesses and other organizations in Japan started working on Thursday, with events marking their first day on the job largely online amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past year, many entrance ceremonies marking the start of the new business year were canceled due to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. But many employers have resumed seasonal events this year, while avoiding large-scale gatherings by scaling them down or embracing virtual participation.

Companies hard hit by the pandemic have sharply reduced the number of new hires. According to the Ministry of Education, the percentage of new university graduates who had obtained a job on February 1 was 89.5%, down 2.8 points from the previous year.

In Tokyo, host of the postponed Olympics and Paralympics due to be held this summer, only four new recruits attended the entrance ceremony hosted by the metropolitan government, along with some 1,700 other participants virtually via the internet.

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“(Together) we will overcome the unprecedented battle against the virus to open up a bright future and lead the Olympic and Paralympic Games to success,” Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told the four representatives of the new recruits in the government building metropolitan. .

Saki Sawayama, 22, one of the four, said after the event: “I would like to interact with my colleagues remotely or by other means as much as possible” as welcome parties for new recruits will not have probably not this year in order to avoid the spread of the virus.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike hands over a letter of appointment to a new recruit during a welcoming ceremony for new employees at the Metropolitan Government Office on Thursday. | KYODO

The Osaka Prefectural Government has held entry ceremonies for new recruits at a number of locations. Osaka Governor Hirofumi Yoshimura told them in a pre-recorded video message, “I want you to work hard to protect the lives of the citizens of the prefecture.”

Drug maker Shionogi & Co., which is developing a COVID-19 vaccine, held a welcoming ceremony for 98 new hires who had undergone polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for the virus.

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“There is great confidence in Japanese products,” President Isao Teshirogi said at a ceremony at the company’s research center in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, urging new recruits to grant the most. high importance to the development of quality products.

The Itochu Corp. trading house in Tokyo canceled its ceremony for new hires for the second year in a row, but featured a display of blooming cherry blossoms in the lobby of its Tokyo headquarters to welcome recruits to their passage on the way to their new offices.

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Itochu Chairman and CEO Masahiro Okafuji was there to greet them and some of the company’s overseas officials applauded the new hires and offered congratulatory messages via a large screen set up there. low.

A new recruit arrives for his first day on the job at Itochu Corp.  as CEO Masahiro Okafuji and others welcome him to the entrance to the company headquarters in Tokyo.  |  KYODO
A new recruit arrives for his first day on the job at Itochu Corp. as CEO Masahiro Okafuji and others welcome him to the entrance to the company headquarters in Tokyo. | KYODO

Toyota Motor Corp., which also canceled a ceremony last year, this year hosted a special event for 1,045 new hires, connecting 150 sites online. President Akio Toyoda told them to be “challengers” and to become “the engine of innovations by cherishing diversity” among their points of view or personalities.

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Airlines suffering from slumping sales amid the pandemic have drastically reduced the number of new hires they have hired and have seconded their employees to other organizations. Among them were cabin attendants from Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways who were seconded to the Ishikawa prefectural government on Thursday as members of its tourism section.

“I would like to use my experience for my hometown of Ishikawa,” said Naho Okuyama, an ANA flight attendant.

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