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Jobs on base becoming pipe dream to many

Date Posted: 1998-06-06

As Okinawa's job situation is going from bad to worse, many dream of a steady job on base. Officials at Okinawa Prefecture Labor Office report that 4,700 people applied for a job on base in Naha District and 6,500 in Koza, totaling more than 10,000 for the first time.

As reasons why they applied for a job on base, most people cited economical reasons. "Pay and working conditions on base jobs are very good. There are many paid holidays and other benefits match those of civil servants," were most frequent comments among job seekers.

Especially remarkable is the popularity of on-base jobs among young people, many of them university graduates, young people with experience in jobs abroad, and even experienced engineers. Among the younger job seekers, internationalization is the buzz word. "Young people are accustomed to and interested in communicating with people from various countries. They have the Internet, e-mail and inexpensive international telecommunications links at their disposal. So it's no wonder they want a job where they can interact with foreigners on a daily basis," an official at Okinawa Prefecture Office commented.

However, with ever increasing number of applicants vying for these jobs, those who get one can feel lucky indeed. "Bases currently hire only 680 to 690 people annually. With over 10,000 competing for those jobs, it can be a long wait," an official at Koza Labor Office commented.

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