• Kyodo

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A total of 74.2% of those who graduated from college in Japan this March found jobs, down 3.5 percentage points from the previous year for the second straight yearly fall amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to government data.

The number of university graduates who landed a job fell to 432,790, the education ministry data showed last week, with an official saying employment offers decreased in some sectors due to the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the number of those who went on to graduate school increased about 4,000 to 68,776, or 11.8% of the total, while 56,228 graduates, or 9.6%, did not get a job or proceed to graduate school, up about 15,000 from the year before.

The official said more graduates apparently believed it was better to stay in school amid difficult employment conditions.

The academic and business year starts in April for most educational institutions and companies in Japan.

Of those who found employment, 411,802 took permanent jobs, down about 16,000 from the previous year. Those who were on fixed-term contracts of one year or longer as opposed to those offered permanent positions rose some 2,500 to 15,947, the data said.

Many companies have curbed new hiring as the pandemic has dented domestic consumption and restricted business activities.

The tourism and restaurant industries were particularly hit hard as people were asked to stay home during the country’s virus states of emergency.

The annual survey of educational institutions, conducted in May on all kinds of schools located in Japan and covering a range of data, also showed a record 58.9% of high school graduates went on to universities and junior colleges.

When other higher education institutions such as professional schools are included, a record 83.8% of the graduates entered further education.

The ministry attributed the record figures to a government scheme to provide financial support to students from low-income households who want to continue their studies.

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