The economic downturn may be a boon for some government bodies, which can take their pick of out-of-work talent who might otherwise fall outside their price range.

The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission, which watches out for illegal securities trading, is perfectly positioned to pluck workers from foreign financial companies that are drastically cutting their payrolls.

It has already received a pile of resumes from qualified professionals for its “few” job openings, commission official Ryoji Taguchi said Monday, adding that more than 100 had applied from early December through Jan. 6 — an “unusually high” number for the SESC.

More than 60 percent of the applicants, who must be Japanese citizens, previously worked for foreign financial institutions, one media report said.

“The number of such applicants wasn’t so high in the past because the salary is even lower than that of average Japanese financial companies,” which usually offer much lower compensation than their foreign counterparts, Taguchi said.

The commission, which has 374 employees and recruits new workers twice a year, has yet to make any hiring decisions, he said.

Shigeteru Maeda, an official at the Financial Services Agency, which oversees the commission, said that in 2007 the FSA began hiring experienced people once a year but may soon start doing so twice a year.

“We don’t want to miss a chance when skilled people are out there on the job market,” he explained.

The agency, which has about 1,400 employees, posted job openings on its Web site from last Sept. 26 to Oct. 31 and got about 200 resumes, triple the number it received in fall 2007, he said.

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