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The government will hire 632 fast-track civil servants for fiscal 1998, about 35 percent fewer than the number hired annually for the past five years, Chief Cabinet Secretary Kanezo Muraoka said Oct. 16.The reduction was made in line with a Cabinet decision in July 1996 to try to cut the number of newly hired public servants by 30 percent as part of efforts to downsize the government. Muraoka, who is also in charge of sexual equality in social participation, encouraged female aspirants to join a national examination to select government employees because women are still overwhelmingly outnumbered by men at the central government.The top government spokesman also made an appeal to students of colleges and universities other than the University of Tokyo, because the central government has long been filled by graduates of the school. In fiscal 1998, University of Tokyo graduates are expected to account for about 50.2 percent of all new career employees. “It is getting better. The percentage used to be around 70 percent,” Muraoka said. Between fiscal 1992 and fiscal 1996, an average 972 college graduates were hired annually for so-called career government positions.Women accounted for only 11 percent of all government recruits in fiscal 1996. The corresponding figure in fiscal 1997 was 14.4 percent. In fiscal 1998, 12.1 percent of all new fast-track bureaucrats are expected to be women.

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