• Kyodo News


Leading supermarket chain Aeon Co. plans to hire more than 10,000 college graduates at home and abroad over a three-year period starting in fiscal 2011, sources familiar with the matter said Monday.

The plan is part of Aeon’s strategy to accelerate its expansion in China and Southeast Asia and diversify domestically into nonretail areas, such as finance, as the retail market shrinks in Japan, they said.

The recruitment plan is the largest in the Japanese retail and service industries.

While dispatching young employees from Japan to bolster its overseas operations, Aeon plans to increase local recruitment so it can better adjust to foreign cultures and business customs, the sources said. This means a quarter of the 10,000 recruits will be hired overseas.

A total of 2,000 will be hired in fiscal 2011 alone, including mid-career professionals, they said. The fiscal year starts in April.

Aeon’s network in China and Southeast Asia covers 1,800 outlets, including convenience stores.

Last October, Aeon divulged a midterm management plan calling for investing a combined ¥200 billion over three years to build a greater presence in China, Indonesia and Vietnam, while paving the way for advancing into Laos, Cambodia and India.

The company has already appointed locally recruited employees as top managers of its entities in Hong Kong and Malaysia. It also plans to have headquarters operations in China and Southeast Asia and to promote more locally hired employees to managing positions.

New jobless record An average of 1.21 million people spent over a year looking for work in 2010, breaking the old record set in 2002, when comparable data first became available, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Monday.

The number is up by 260,000. Many of these are believed to be temporary workers who lost their jobs shortly after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. collapsed in fall 2008. Although the economy is improving overall, the statistic indicates that the job market is still stagnant.

Among the long-term unemployed, almost half were men seeking regular employment, although positions remained scarce, the ministry said.

The proportion of irregular employees to overall workers hit a new high of 34.3 percent, with the number swelling by 340,000 to 17.55 million on average in 2010 for the first rise in two years, while the number of regular employees decreased 250,000 to 33.55 million.

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