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Ailing utility resumes offering jobs to new graduates for first time since 2011

Kyodo

Tokyo Electric Power Co. has resumed offering jobs to prospective graduates for the first time since the Fukushima nuclear crisis started in March 2011.

Tepco officials said Tuesday they plan to hire about 100 new recruits next April. They will be students due to graduate in March from technical high schools, universities and graduate schools.

Some offers have already been made, the officials said.

The utility had hired up to about 1,000 new recruits every year through fiscal 2011. But after the Fukushima No. 1 catastrophe, Tepco refrained from hiring new employees two years in a row.

Meanwhile, 1,177 employees, mainly executives and employees tasked with key operations, left the company between the start of the crisis and the end of fiscal 2012.

Aside from the planned hiring of 100 new graduates, Tepco is set to offer about 50 jobs in Fukushima as part of its effort to help improve employment conditions there.

Tepco had planned to hire about 500 new graduates next April 2014. But because the utility was required to further streamline operations before increases in household electricity rates were approved, it decided to limit new hiring mainly to essential technical personnel.

As Tepco has been cutting wages sharply and its business prospects remain uncertain, there is a possibility that students may spurn any job offers.

“I am worried how many will actually join, but hope as many people as we need will enter our company,” a senior official said.