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Major companies have postponed recruitment activities for the March 2012 crop of university graduates in consideration of the repercussions from the March 11 catastrophe.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. have postponed interviews and other activities until beyond April, they said.

Toyota Motor Corp., Panasonic Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. said such activities have been put off until June. Sumitomo Chemical Co. said it has delayed recruitment interviews and examinations until around July for students in regions hit by the disaster.

The Japan Business Federation (Nippon Keidanren) has asked member companies to give maximum consideration to students affected by the disaster. The quake-triggered tsunami destroyed the Pacific coast of the Tohoku region and is believed to have claimed more than 10,000 lives.

“We welcome individual companies’ respective decisions,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said Friday, indicating the government’s support for these firms.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is concerned that companies affected by the disaster could cancel promises to employ students graduating this month, a ministry official said.

The ministry plans to help any students in that situation find new employers as earthquake reconstruction efforts progress, the official said.

Grad jobs at record low

The labor and education ministries said Friday that only 77.4 percent of university students were able to find jobs as of Feb. 1, the lowest level since comparable data started in 1996.

The survey said about 90,000 job-seeking students had yet to find jobs before graduation in March. An official at the education ministry expressed concern that job offers might be canceled in the aftermath of the megaquake.

The corresponding percentage for graduating high school students came to 83.5 percent as of the end of January, up 2.4 points from a year earlier.

The ratio of job offers to job-seekers for the students stood at 1.15, down 0.02 point, meaning 115 jobs were offered for every 100 seekers.

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