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The job situation for next year’s high school graduates continues to look bleak, according to a survey released by the Labor Ministry.

The survey said there will be 256,000 high school students leaving school next March with hopes of joining companies, which themselves are offering only 163,000 jobs nationwide, bringing the openings-to-applications ratio to 0.64, up a mere 0.02 point from last year’s record low.

Last year’s ratio of 0.62 was the lowest since the government started the survey in 1984, and a record high 4.4 percent of such high school graduates were still without jobs — up 1.2 points from last year — at the end of March.

In Japan, the school and business years end in March.

The ratio was 0.22 in Hokkaido and 0.24 in southern Kyushu, while firms provided as many jobs as applicants in regions in and around Tokyo and Nagoya.

Job-hunters at junior high schools numbered 6,400, while companies offered only 1,400 jobs, bringing the ratio to a record low 0.22, down 0.07 point from last year, the survey said.

In March, a record high 13.3 percent of junior high school graduates failed to find jobs, up 5.4 points from last year.

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