(Sentaku: March 2015 – pp.102-103)
About 3,000 students will graduate from the University of Tokyo (known as “Todai” in Japan) this year. Jobs in Kasumigaseki, the area of Tokyo where the central government ministries are concentrated, used to be the top career choice for Todai graduates, but something strange is happening these days.
The quality of the Todai graduates who take jobs in Kasumigaseki is declining. Where are the top Todai graduates going?
It is common for Todai graduates, especially those who major in law, to take the National Bar Examination, but some of those students used to opt for jobs in Kasumigaseki in the past. Nowadays, the top Todai graduates are more interested in finding jobs at foreign corporations.
The average number of students graduating from Todai’s law faculty is about 400 every year. Of the 400, about 150 graduates used to choose careers in public service until the 1990s. However, the number began to drop in the 2000s. In 2014, 66 law faculty graduates became bureaucrats of the central government. In 2011, 46 became bureaucrats, while 138, or about one-third of all law faculty graduates, went on to Todai or other universities’ law schools, which illustrates that the central government ministries have become less appealing to them than law schools
The figures clearly show that the recent level of the Todai graduates who choose to work in Kasumigaseki is medium to low. In 2011, about 200 Todai graduates took jobs in Kasumigaseki, which is about 40% of all who joined the central government ministries. In 2012, 258 Todai graduates chose to work in Kasumigaseki, which is about 30% of the all new employees in Kasumigaseki. Of the 258, 58 were law faculty graduates. Todai graduates used to make up about 80% of all new employees in Kasumigaseki several decades ago.
The high salaries offered by foreign companies are one of the reasons top Todai graduates tend to steer clear of Kasumigaseki, but the main reason is criticism against bureaucrats. Criticism against bureaucrats, including Todai graduates, began to surge around 2000, which was when Todai graduates began avoiding Kasumigaseki. (Excerpts)