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Major Japanese companies are planning to sharply curtail new graduate recruitment in spring 2010 as business confidence continues to deteriorate amid the global economic slump, a recent survey indicates.

The survey, which received responses from 110 major companies, showed that 38 firms, or 35 percent, are planning to reduce annual recruitment in 2010, compared with only 5 percent in a poll for recruitment in 2009 conducted a year earlier. Only five companies, or 5 percent, plan to increase recruitment in 2010, compared with 34 percent in the previous survey.

The number of companies that are yet to decide on their recruitment plans due to economic uncertainties doubled to 39, while 28 companies plan to maintain hiring at year-earlier levels.

Export-oriented manufacturers and financial institutions, which have been particularly hit by the crisis, are generally planning to reduce recruitment next year, while electricity, railway and telecommunications companies, which depend on domestic demand, are planning to increase or maintain recruitment levels.

Students graduating in the spring of 2010 are already looking for jobs. Many will receive promises of employment as early as next month.

A sharp deterioration in performance and uncertain business conditions were cited by companies planning to reduce recruitment in 2010.

Among them, camera maker Canon Inc. plans to recruit 320 engineers due to graduate from universities or graduate schools in 2010 compared with 765 in the previous year as well as 40 other new graduates against 155 in 2009.

Toyota Motor Corp. intends to cut its recruitment of engineers to 380 from 751 and that of nonengineers to 100 from 184. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. plans to reduce its recruitment of engineers to 640 from 748 and its nonengineering recruitment to 150 from 209.

Among financial institutions, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ intends to recruit 650 new graduates in 2010 against 1,500 in 2009.

Tent events draw lines

Citizens groups kicked off campaigns Saturday in Saitama, Aichi and Osaka prefectures to support people facing the dual hardships of no jobs and no homes as the economy sinks deeper into recession.

At two-day events running through Sunday, doctors, lawyers and labor union representatives will give free advice on issues concerning health and day-to-day life, the organizers said.

On Saturday, three events were held in Omiya, Saitama Prefecture, Kita Ward, Osaka, and in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, which is home to several manufacturing plants.

In January, hundreds of homeless people flocked to Tokyo’s Hibiya Park to seek shelter and advice at a “temp worker village” set up over the New Year’s holidays to draw attention to their plight.

Saturday’s events were based on ones recently held in Sendai and Kyoto as concerns grow over the fate of the thousands of part-time workers expected to be rendered jobless by the end of the business year on March 31.

In Osaka, dozens lined up for advice from labor experts.

“I went to a job interview. If I don’t get the job, I will have to rely on public assistance. Today, I came to learn more about such assistance,” said a 59-year-old man construction temp who became jobless when his company collapsed at the end of last year.

The man lost his job in a similar manner at a separate company four years ago. He is sleeping on the street or in “capsule hotels” until he can get work, he said.

“I think I’m a hard worker, but because of my age, it’s hard for me to find a job,” he said.

Along the nearby Tosabori River, volunteers distributed free “bento” (boxed lunches) and miso soup to 250 people.

Takeshi Ikuta, 44, a representative of citizens’ group Nojukusha (Homeless) Network, said more and more people in their 20s and 30s have been seeking support.

“Many of them are in despair as they feel society won’t help them, while others feel hopeless after criticizing themselves,” Ikuta said.

In Okazaki, about 30 people came to seek free support from lawyers.

Katsuhiko Fujii, who helped organize the consultation service, predicted that more temporary workers will lose their jobs toward the end of the month.

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