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A two-day job interview fair with more than 650 companies began Monday in Tokyo in an attempt to help prospective university and junior college graduates in the metro area land work.

Reflecting the ongoing extremely severe job situation, the event attracted 10 percent fewer companies than last year, while the number of jobs offered by the 659 companies plunged nearly 20 percent to 1,500, according to the organizers.

During the session — cosponsored by the Labor Ministry, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the prefectural governments of Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa — each participating company set up a booth to interview students expected to graduate from universities, junior colleges and technical junior colleges next spring.

A special booth has also been set up to provide consultation for those who graduated last spring but have been unable to land jobs.

“Companies don’t care for us. We have already graduated,” said a 24-year-old man who graduated from Kanto Gakuin University in March.

“I’ve been looking into companies recruiting workers who can start work at times other than the beginning of next April. But it is very difficult to just get an appointment for a job interview because I have no job experience,” he said.

“I can get interviews. But I can tell that they have no intention of hiring me because all they want to know is how long I am going to work and whether I plan to get married,” said a 22-year-old female student at Waseda University.

“It is us women who are pushed out of jobs in a recession,” she said.

According to a Kyodo News survey conducted last month, roughly two thirds of 150 major firms polled plan to reduce the number of new recruits next spring and some plan to cut such hiring altogether.

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