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2008年12月 1日 (月)

内定取り消し―若者の未来を裏切るな 「来春から働いてもらうから」

2008/12/1 --The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 29(IHT/Asahi: December 1,2008)

EDITORIAL: New 'employment ice age' coming?

内定取り消し―若者の未来を裏切るな 「来春から働いてもらうから」 

Dozens of companies in Japan have cancelled job offers to students graduating next spring amid a deepening business slump. Should companies be allowed to break their promise to employ students on graduation just because of an economic downturn?


With only a few months until their graduation in March, at least 331 university and high school students are facing unilaterally canceled job offers. Since the health of the nation's economy is deteriorating rapidly, the number of job-offer cancellations is likely to increase in coming months.


Until last year, companies in Japan were eagerly scouting for talented students in a tight labor market. But that was then. The employment picture has changed dramatically over the past year.


If the trend continues, the job situation for new graduates could become as bad as it was about 10 years ago, when Japanese students faced what was dubbed an "employment ice age."


We hear stories about students who were given money by companies as apparent compensation for canceled job offers.


Some companies even pressured students to decline the job offers they had just received, saying they would not be assigned to the sections of their choice and therefore had better look for positions elsewhere.


These students have been betrayed, so to speak, by society just before they head out into the world.


Many companies have already finished the process of recruiting students due to graduate next spring. For students who have been told the jobs they were offered are no longer there, it is by no means easy to find positions at other companies.


This is a serious setback for the students because in Japan a person's career tends to be greatly affected by which company he or she joins right after graduation.


In some of the cases, job offers were withdrawn because of the bankruptcy of the companies. But some students apparently received nothing but a written notice that only said they would not be hired after all, without offering a detailed explanation.


We wonder if these companies made a serious effort, doing everything possible to make good on their promises.


The cancellation of a job offer is deemed to be an annulment of a labor contract and is highly likely to be judged illegal unless there is sufficient justification.


What is now more important than anything else is to provide as much support as possible to students who are suddenly facing the prospect of unemployment.


Students who have been informed of the retraction of the employment offers should consult with their schools or other organizations about the problem instead of suffering in silence.


If they receive a request for advice on this issue from a student, universities, high schools and "Hello Work" government-run job-placement offices should study the case carefully to determine whether the cancellation is justifiable. If they see any possible problem with a company's behavior concerning this issue, they should question the company and, if necessary, strongly demand it take corrective action.


These institutions should also act as intermediaries between the students, who are in a weak position, and the companies, helping with the negotiations and discussions of the problem.


In addition, they should also help the students find new jobs while exchanging information with one another.


Any act of stupidity that can disrupt the future lives of young people is totally unacceptable. And that's not just for the sake of the students.


During the nation's prolonged economic downturn in the 1990s, companies sharply reduced their annual recruitment of new graduates.


As a result, a huge number of young people failed to acquire full-time positions. Many people belonging to this generation have since been struggling to find stable jobs.


To prevent the same situation from developing again, companies should act in a responsible manner. They must not plant any more seeds of discontent and disillusionment in this society.



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