• Kyodo News


New college graduates joined the workforce Friday with the country in the midst of a nuclear crisis and the Tohoku disaster.

This year, many companies that do business in the Tohoku region canceled or postponed entrance ceremonies for rookie employees in the aftermath of the March 11 catastrophe.

Supermarket chain Aeon Co. and telecommunications carrier NTT East Corp. postponed their ceremonies in consideration of the quake and tsunami victims and new recruits from disaster-hit areas who couldn’t attend.

Toyota Motor Corp. held a ceremony with 1,335 new employees and about 350 officials at its headquarters in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, after its production base and suppliers in the Tohoku region were hit by the disaster.

“Now, Japan is in a difficult situation and you can’t afford to hesitate just because you are young,” President Akio Toyoda said. “We would like you to move into action what you can do.”

Meanwhile, Hitachi Ltd. President Hiroaki Nakanishi called on about 900 new employees to show solidarity during a ceremony in Tokyo. Some of the company’s major production centers were severely damaged by the quake and tsunami.

Apart from rebuilding its business, “helping the reconstruction of social infrastructure in quake-hit areas is also our mission,” Nakanishi said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, took a low-key approach, holding a simple ceremony at a training center in a Tokyo suburb instead of its usual induction event at its Tokyo headquarters.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc., whose reputation was also tarnished recently by massive automated teller machines and online banking system glitches, canceled a ceremony.

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