Japan’s three mega-banking groups plan to hire fewer new graduates in April 2019, it was learned Saturday.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. plans to hire some 700 new graduates next spring, or about half the 1,365 it hired this year, including at key units Mizuho Bank and Mizuho Trust & Banking Co.

Mizuho Financial aims to shed 19,000 jobs by fiscal 2026 by improving efficiency via information technology. The hiring reduction is part of the move and was decided in light of the progress being made on its new core system.

Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, the core unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., plans to make a 10 percent reduction in new hires next spring, after hiring 1,050 this year.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp., the core unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., meanwhile plans to reduce new hires from the 810 employed this spring.

For all three, the reductions are being driven by a deteriorating business environment caused mainly by prolonged ultralow interest rates.

In Japan, major companies in other sectors are actively hiring new graduates on the back of an economic recovery and a labor shortage caused by Japan’s demographic woes.

Despite the favorable job situation overall for new grads, securing employment at the big banks, one of the most sought-after jobs, is likely to become more difficult.

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