The struggles of Japanese youth.

I wanted to add a bit to this topic from Thursday, and I found the ideal article on Japan Today’s Kuchikomi/Shukan Post: Job seekers flop at impressing potential employers.

Here is the tone:

According to recent media reports, only about two out of three college seniors graduating this March have jobs lined up. In the first of four articles in Sapio (Feb 9-16) under the combined headline, “Nihon no wakamono ga dondon baka ni natte iru” (Japan’s young people are becoming dumber and dumber), education consultant and author Reiji Ishiwatari relates some horror stories from the job recruitment front.

In perhaps the most extreme example of unpreparedness, the personnel manager at a major manufacturing company relates how he saw an applicant shamelessly peel off his street clothes and change to a business suit in the office lobby. Another arrived so unprepared, he hadn’t even filled out the entry form that participants were required to submit. After sitting on the lobby floor and scribbling one, he then requested the receptionist for paste to affix his photograph.

There are a few other examples along this line.

Chances are, these are those 1% of people that you find anywhere, who either don’t understand a particular interview setting, or just don’t quite march to the same beat as everyone else.

But as Martin Fackler’s article was saying on Friday, the vast majority of young Japanese are just trying to make it, and not being given enough opportunities and hope.

The people who try to cut the generation down are those, who for their own selfish reasons, want to keep things exactly the way they are. So you get articles about the guy changing into his interview suit in the lobby and what not.

Or the newspaper company asking how many of the students actually read their newspaper. And the one who thought that if he/she bought a newspaper, they should read everything cover-to-cover (which might take 2 1/2 hours.)

I am sure that many of the young people in Japan who do read newspapers are tired of that kind of reporting. It is geared toward making people who are trying, want to give up.

[More in a bit.]

Friday’s Fackler article mentioned about the fact that 50% of Japanese under age 35 don’t make the required payments into the National Pension system. (That stat, which is usually reported, ignores the fact that at least some of the group are in the shakai hoken or Employee’s Pension sytem. Even so, it is a remarkable number. As the overall pension requires the 25 years to vest, it means–for some–that even if they can get their career going, they might not have 25 total years in it!

Regular readers of course note that if you are from an overseas country with a totalization treaty with Japan, your time in your home country’s pension or social security system counts towards Japan’s 25 years. Just an aside and a public service message . . .

An American corporation that I worked for years ago sounded quite a bit like it had some of the antics that are being pulled against Japanese youth. And although I haven’t worked in government, from what I have heard it’s pretty common there, too:

“Here, do this jerk work, while I set myself up nice.”

While that’s going on, the runners also see how much money they can grab. When you put people in charge who are basically counting down the months to a corporate or government pension, which they, of course, have vested in, it’s no surprise that the up-and-coming people are painted as all thumbs or running on 25-Watt bulbs.

In Egypt, people are taking to the streets over this kind of stuff. The young Japanese are just told to shut up.

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