Amid the nation’s harsh job situation, some 3,000 vocational school students who will graduate next March gathered Thursday in Tokyo to demonstrate their resolve to secure employment immediately after entering the market.

Students from 12 vocational schools in Tokyo, Osaka, Sendai and Nagoya participated in the gathering at Hibiya Park in Chiyoda Ward.

“I hope to get a job by taking advantage of my accounting ability,” participant Takafumi Ando, 20, said. “I am determined to secure an unofficial job offer by the end of May.”

There are currently 616,000 vocational school students in Japan. As of December, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the employment rate for such students graduating this month stands at 54.3 percent, down 4 percentage points from the year before.

The national unemployment rate for January returned to the record high 5.5 percent posted in October as beleaguered companies continued to shed jobs.

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