Firms revive in-person ceremonies as new recruits start work

© Kyodo News

New recruits at companies, public offices, and other organizations in Japan began work Friday, the start of the fiscal year, with some firms reviving in-person ceremonies for the first time since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic more than two years ago.

Toyota Motor Corp., based in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture, and Osaka-based Kansai Electric Power Co. were among a number of major companies holding face-to-face entrance ceremonies again at their headquarters.

"Our country's economy and society are facing turbulent times. In order to overcome these changes, I want you to break your shells of common sense and stereotypes with flexible thinking," Kansai Electric President Takashi Morimoto told around 270 new recruits.

Electronics giant Panasonic Holdings Corp., which transformed into a holding company on Friday, held a ceremony at the head office in Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture with some 70 of its new employees at its group companies.

"We have made a new start and taken a step toward a new future. We'd like to make progress strongly as a whole to make the entire group shine," said Panasonic Holdings President Yuki Kusumi.

At the headquarters of Hato Bus Co. in Tokyo, which offers tours around the capital, seven new recruits, all aged 18, attended its entrance ceremony.

"We need to think about what we can do and how we can act so the tourism industry can regain its brightness," said Riria Kanbayashi at the ceremony, referring to the heavy blow dealt to the sector by the pandemic.

This year's entrance ceremonies coincided with the lowering of the age of adulthood from 20 to 18.

At the Consumer Affairs Agency, which will boost measures against scams by businesses targeting young people, 12 new officials attended the ceremony.

"Some of you are 18 years old and will be working as adults. I want you to think broadly about what will be beneficial to people," Commissioner Akiko Ito said.

Local governments in three northeastern prefectures which were severely hit by the March 2011 massive earthquake and tsunami held ceremonies to issue letters of appointment.

In Higashimatsushima, Miyagi Prefecture where more than 1,000 people lost their lives in the disaster, six new officials joined the city government.

Sae Tasaki, 18, who was assigned to the reconstruction policy section, said, "I want to be someone who can take the initiative when a disaster occurs."

In Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, where some 30 people remain evacuated from their homes after the area was hit by a strong quake on March 16, 29-year-old Shogo Sato attended an event in which he was promoted to a regular employee from a temporary worker.

"I want to create a city where disaster victims can live feeling relieved and young people will want to continue to live," Sato said.