When 20-year-old Fumio Oishi started his fourth and final year at university in Tokyo last April his first priority was to learn how to use the university's Internet facilities and thereby begin the laborious process of finding a job.
The Internet has become an indispensable source of information for the country's job-seeking students. Employers have launched their web pages to provide students with up-to-date information about jobs and the programmes of meetings, office-visits and formal interviews which are an integral part of the graduate-hiring process.
Some companies also offer three-dimensional sites which enable students to communicate with company representatives. The Nissho Iwai Corporation, one of Japan's leading trading houses, offers a 3-D site called Chataro where students can interact with company employees as well as with other students.
Between six and ten senior Nissho Iwai staff members, representing different divisions and departments, are available each day to answer questions from job-seeking students.
"Electronic job-hunting is now the norm in Japan," said Mr Oishi, who is hoping to take up a career in journalism.
Around 25 per cent of university students now have their own email addresses according to a survey by the Recruit Corporation while 40 per cent of the companies which are members of the Japan Federation of Economic Organisations have online facilities for answering students' questions.
"Most students use their online exchanges to ask company representatives questions about salaries, holidays and the touchy subject of unpaid voluntary overtime," said Mr Oishi, "These are the sort of questions which students are normally too shy to ask during face-to-face meetings."
The Sony Corporation accepts job-applications through its home page. Several technology companies intend to conduct provisional interviews via computers fitted with video equipment.