Business

Amid outbreak, Japan firms are revoking informal job offers

JIJI

Cancellations of informal job offers are increasing as companies grow more concerned about the impact on their earnings from the spread of the coronavirus.

On March 9, a second-year college student in Gifu Prefecture received a brief notice saying that her informal job offer had been withdrawn.

“We can’t afford to hire new graduates as we have no work due to the coronavirus,” an official from the wedding services company she was supposed to join in April said, according to the 20-year-old student.

“I wonder what they think about my life and the money I put into job-hunting activities,” she said.

A 28-year-old man in Miyagi Prefecture said a mobile phone sales agent told him that it had decided not to hire him just a few days after extending an informal job offer.

The company explained that the move was part of its efforts to minimize damage from the virus crisis. But the Miyagi man is suspicious that the company used the virus as an excuse, believing the firm was actually motivated by its deteriorating business performance.

Others have been pressed to accept changes in employment conditions.

A 44-year-old U.S. man in Gunma Prefecture was set to work full time as a teacher at an English conversation school. But the school’s operator suggested that he work part time due to closures at kindergartens where the school usually sends teachers.

With a wife and two children to feed, he has no other choice but to work two jobs, including continuing the one he initially planned to quit.

The government is increasingly alarmed about the situation.

“We want to understand the situation in detail as soon as possible,” Seiichi Eto, minister for promoting the dynamic engagement of all citizens, said Friday.

Meanwhile, there are some firms that see the situation as a chance to hire talented workers.

Karadanote Inc., a Tokyo company that develops apps for people raising children, started recruiting activities for students whose informal job offers have been revoked.

“People who can overcome difficulties and make efforts to find a job have the ability to take action,” said Maiko Hikosaka, public relations chief at the company.

Nobuhito Kimiwada, a lawyer well-versed in labor issues, said that “canceling an informal job offer due to the company’s poor performance is unacceptable.”

The government should support people who lose job offers by allowing them to receive leave allowances, Kimiwada said.

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