• Kyodo, JIJI

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The job-hunting season for students graduating in March 2021 officially kicked off on Sunday, but the outbreak of the new coronavirus is changing the way companies and recruitment firms conduct hiring sessions.

Many recruitment companies have canceled job fairs to stem the spread of COVID-19, and companies nationwide are turning to the internet to introduce their business to recruits through live streaming and videos. Among recruitment companies that scrapped such events are Recruit Career Co., Mynavi Corp. and Disco Inc.

An official from a midsize company that planned to participate in an event expressed disappointment at the cancellation.

“There are plenty of chances to meet job-seekers at a job fair. A well-known large company may be able to attract people online easily but for a company of our size the cancellation is a setback,” the official said.

This year was the first time the recruiting schedules had been set by the government instead of Keidanren (the Japan Business Federation), Japan’s leading business lobby. The government instructed companies to start job briefings in March, begin selection of new hires through writing tests and interviews in June, and make informal job offers in October.

On Sunday, more reports of infections and deaths emerged across the country.

Hokkaido marked its third death from the virus when a man in his 70s who was confirmed infected on Tuesday died on Saturday night, the Hokkaido Prefectural Government announced.

According to the prefecture and other sources, the man was admitted to Kushiro Rosai Hospital on Jan. 17, in the city of Kushiro, where his infection was confirmed.

He was there to treat a pre-existing disease. The hospital mentioned the possibility of in-hospital infection.

Two more cases — a woman in her 20s and a man in his 40s — were reported in Hokkaido Sunday, bringing the total to 72.

The Sagamihara Municipal Government in Kanagawa Prefecture announced the same day that a couple in their 50s living in the city had been confirmed infected.

In the meantime, the Shizuoka Municipal Government said a man in his 60s who tested positive on Friday used a fitness club in Aoi Ward twice after disembarking from the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess. He used a bath at Sports Club Seishin’s Chiyoda branch on Feb. 20, the day he was allowed off the ship after testing negative, and on Feb. 22, according to the city. Officials believe there is a high possibility that people who used the bath around the same time were in close proximity with the man.

According to the city, the man was hospitalized Thursday and has mild symptoms but no fever.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government in the meantime has banned visitors to the Toyosu wholesale food market, a popular tourist spot, in an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

The ban will be in place until March 15. A signboard announcing the ban was set up at the entrance to the market in Koto Ward on Saturday.

Members of the public are not allowed to view the tuna auction, a popular event at Toyosu, or use any restaurants located within its premises.

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