• Kyodo

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An estimated 890,000 new recruits began work at companies, public offices and other organizations across Japan on Wednesday as the nation marked the start of the 2015 fiscal year.

Central and local governments, as well as many private-sector companies, held welcome ceremonies for new personnel.

Addressing the new intake at the Cabinet Office, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga noted that 22 of the 54 new recruits — more than 40 percent — were women, in a nod to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s “womenomics” policy.

At the Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre in the capital’s Toshima Ward, Tokyo Gov. Yoichi Masuzoe called on his government’s 1,800 new hires to work together to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games a successful and historic event.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the Tomioka Municipal Government, which still has temporary offices in Koriyama following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, welcomed 11 new employees.

Nao Takeno, 25, from Hiroshima Prefecture, said she hoped to become an official who could connect with residents.

In Iwate Prefecture, two men joined Sanriku Railway Co., which resumed full service in April last year after sustaining damage during the 2011 disaster.

Ryusei Numazaki, 18, who will start training to become a train driver, said he was looking forward to driving a train through his hometown.

At established kamaboko boiled fish paste shop Takamasa, in Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture, 18-year-old Maki Abe, one of 11 high school graduates to start work, said that since experiencing the disaster she has wanted to work in the region.

Labor ministry data show that 86.7 percent of graduates had found jobs by Feb. 1 ahead of their graduation in March, marking an improvement in the labor market for a fourth straight year.

However, the data also showed that some 57,000 graduates had failed to find work by that time.

Among job-seeking high school seniors, 92.8 percent found jobs as of the end of January in a recovery to levels prior to the 2008 financial crisis.

In the three prefectures affected most by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters, more high school students found jobs than the year before at 96.3 percent in Iwate, 96.7 percent in Fukushima and 94.3 percent in Miyagi.

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