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Hundreds of mostly female college students and their parents lined up Saturday morning at the Tokyo headquarters of Tokio Marine & Fire Insurance Co. for reservations for clerical staff job interviews.

The number of applicants reflects Japan’s severe employment situation, as Tokio Marine is one of the most popular companies for graduating college students seeking jobs.

While many Japanese companies only permit students who pass preliminary screenings to attend job interviews, Tokio Marine decided to open its interviews to all students as long as they hold reservations in advance.

Tokio Marine plans to hire about 300 clerical workers at its offices across Japan next spring, but the tickets handed out Saturday are only for between 100 and 120 of the positions in Tokyo and three neighboring prefectures, according to company officials.

The interviews are being arranged on a first come, first served basis.

The company began handing out tickets at 9:45 a.m., 15 minutes ahead of schedule, by which time some 400 students and their parents, mainly mothers, had lined up.

The officials said they expect up to 6,000 tickets to be handed out Saturday.

Satoko Fujiwara, 22, from Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, and a senior at Komazawa University, was first in line, arriving at around 7:30 a.m. “I’m interested in working in the financial or insurance industry, but I have yet to receive any employment offers,” she said.

Yoko Iizuka, 50, from Yokohama got in line on behalf of her 21-year-old daughter. “My daughter is tired of job-hunting every day. She and her friends have had no luck getting job offers,” she said.

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