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[Corona ni Makeruna] Northeast Japan is Bringing Back the Welcome for New Employees

Two years into the pandemic, Tohoku employers are welcoming their new staff members with building-wide broadcasts, large group ceremonies and other special events.

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The new fiscal year begins on April 1 in Japan, and in 2022 some of the local governments and companies in the Tohoku region of Northeast Japan once again welcomed new employees in ceremonies. With anti-COVID measures in force, new entrants shared their hopes and expectations as they celebrated.

Two major cities of Miyagi and Aomori Prefectures observed the first day for new employees in ceremonies harkening to the pre-COVID era. Meanwhile Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima continued to avoid large group events for the occasion.

Miyagi welcomed 173 new employees at its prefectural office. Mizuki Obata, a 22-year-old new employee assigned to the Industrial Digital Promotion Division, swore that she “will carry out her duties honestly and fairly as a public servant.”

Aomori Prefecture gathered 132 new employees, checking the temperatures of each attendee upon arrival at the venue and enforcing social distancing.

Three other prefectures ー Akita, Yamagata and Fukushima ー continued to renounce formal celebrations as they continued COVID-19 prevention measures. Instead of a large group ceremony, Akita Prefecture greeted its 117 new employees in their assigned offices.

With no special event for the occassion in Yamagata Prefecture, Governor Mieko Yoshimura greeted her 179 new staff by broadcasting her message throughout the local government building. “I don’t know anything yet,” said Shinnosuke Izumiya, newly assigned to the Child Care Support Division, “but I want to get used to my work and do what I can as soon as possible.” 

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For the second year in a row, Fukushima Prefecture held a ceremony but, due to COVID-19 measures, allowed only three representatives of the new employees to attend the inaugural session. The other 314 new employees attended virtually, watching online. 

Yuko Eguchi, 22, who gave her oath while wearing a face mask, was visibly tense as she said, “It’s sinking in finally that I have become a prefectural employee, I want to do my best.”

In the corporate sector, Tohoku Electric Power Co., Inc. and Tohoku Electric Power Network Co. Inc. jointly held a group event at the Tohoku Electric Power main office in Sendai to welcome a total of 243 new employees.

“I want to do my best in everything I can and work on self-improvement,” said 22-year-old Keita Kadoma, a new employee of Tohoku Electric, speaking on behalf of the other new employees. Maori Suzuki, 24, a new employee of Tohoku Electric Network, vowed to devote herself proudly to the mission of working for a stable supply of electricity.

COVID-19 prevention measures were in place throughout. New employees had to present negative antigen test results and sit 120 centimeters from each other. The event was also kept short by omitting the reading of each new employee’s name.

Iris Ohyama Inc., a major consumer electronics and household goods company also headquartered in Sendai, held an event for its large group of 757 new entrants, who come from a mixture of high schools and universities. This was the third consecutive year for the company to welcome a record number of new employees.

After the Iris Oyama company ceremony, Mayu Yamada, a 24-year-old new employee assigned to a home appliance development position, shared her ambition with reporters. “I feel drawn to the idea of making home appliances more affordable for many people. I want to make interesting home appliances with ideas that haven’t been thought of before.”

RELATED: Japan’s Legal Adult Age is Now 18 (from 20): 8 Things That Change, 4 That Stay

(Read the article in Japanese at this link.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun

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