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Recruiters at central government offices have wound up a particularly hectic hiring season this year as they were faced with a new challenge — a tug of war over the best and the brightest female candidates to fulfill Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s order to raise the ratio of women among new employees to 30 percent or more.

Abe’s call was part of measures to encourage greater female participation in the workforce, one of the major pillars of his “Abenomics” reforms aimed at revitalizing the economy.

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