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Japanese firms less willing to increase graduate intake in FY 2020

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Major Japanese companies are less willing to recruit new graduates in fiscal 2020 than the current year starting in April, due to concerns over the economic outlook, a Kyodo News survey showed Saturday.

    In the survey of 112 companies, including Toyota Motor Corp., Sony Corp. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc., 21 percent, or 23 firms, said they plan to hire more new graduates, down from 29 percent in fiscal 2019.

    Still, many of the companies said at the same time they are keen to increase the number of women and foreign nationals in their workforce, given the country's chronic labor shortage and rapidly aging population.

    The survey, conducted from mid-March to early April, found 34 percent, or 38 firms, said they will maintain previous levels of new graduate recruitment, while 16 percent said they will reduce hiring, up from 10 percent.

    The companies with a proactive stance in hiring more new graduates were conspicuous in the steel, machinery, real estate and retail sectors.

    Besides uncertainty over the direction of the Japanese economy, which has intensified with a government plan to raise the consumption tax to 10 percent in October from the current 8 percent, one manufacturer suggested that a smaller number of workers will be needed with the advance of information technology.

    However, 60 percent of the companies said they are struggling to secure necessary resources, mainly because of Japan's low birthrate and graying society.

    As part of efforts to address the situation, 57 percent said they are trying to create a working environment more favorable to women, while 24 percent said they are seeking to accept more foreign workers.

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