In Japan, the job hunting season is under way. From late December to April or May, students who will graduate in the coming year search for jobs en masse. Companies are busy trying to recruit the best and the brightest to apply to their firms, while stressed students rush here and there attending loads of job fairs, company briefing sessions and employment seminars.
For companies in Fukushima Prefecture, still recovering from the 2011 disaster and subsequent nuclear meltdown, recruiting new applicants is doubly hard. They have to contend with the usual tides of urban migration as well as the negative associations now attached to the area, but one local company, Niraku Corporation, has hit upon an idea to help bring young job seekers in: bus them in for free.
Niraku, a pachinko hall management company, is providing free round-trip transportation between Tokyo and Fukushima via their Smile Express bus. It leaves from Tokyo at 8 a.m., arriving at Koriyama Station in Fukushima Prefecture at around noon. It then heads back to the capital at 5 p.m., allowing students at Tokyo’s many fine educational institutions to come check out the local companies, attend seminars and interviews, and still be back in time for dinner.
And they needn’t even be searching for a job, necessarily. The company is also happy to have the students spend a lazy afternoon soaking in the hot springs, enjoying some delicious food, and taking in the sights. If the students leave with a positive image of Fukushima, they will have done their job.
Says their website: “To support the companies of Fukushima, who are working even harder to build healthy communities in the aftermath of the Great Tohoku Earthquake, we have launched this service in the hopes that we might encourage even one more student to come and visit us.”
The service is open to any high school, vocational school, or university student graduating in the coming year, so long as they make a reservation on Niraku’s website.
Whether they are interested in a particular Fukushima company or just want to see what is available in their hometown, for example, this service will no doubt be a boon for penny-pinching job seekers. And riding the bus kills two birds with one stone: they’ll get to hear a recruitment presentation for Niraku en route.
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