About 70% of major companies in Japan have introduced internships that may directly lead to employment, a survey has revealed. Companies in Japan were newly allowed to offer employment-linked internships starting from their recruitment drive to hire university students graduating in spring 2025. Amid intensifying competition for human resources, such internships now appear to have become the main battlefield in the competition for young talent, as they allow companies to come in contact with students from an early stage as part of the firms’ selection procedures.

Of the 100 companies asked to participate in the questionnaire survey by Jiji Press, 68 said they had introduced employment-linked internships. Among them, 57 companies introduced programs of at least five days in duration, offering a wide range of university students a career experience that allows them to use general skills and practical expertise. Four companies introduced longer, highly specialized programs for graduate students. Both of these internship types were introduced by seven companies including Toyota. Companies that did not offer employment-linked internships totalled 26, and six companies did not respond.

The numbers of students accepted into such internship programs varied, from a few to several thousands. Nippon Life Insurance accepted about 2,000 students, Sekisui House some 1,000 students and Hitachi 930 students. The kinds of work experience offered were also wide-ranging, including on-site construction management work at Taisei, customer visits and actual data analysis at Orix, making proposals to prospective customers at Nomura Holdings and making business proposals as a store manager at McDonald’s (Japan). When asked whether they would offer employment-linked internships for students graduating in spring 2026, 48 companies said they plan to do so, eight said they will not introduce such internships, 38 said they had not decided and six did not respond. Jiji Press sent questionnaires to the 100 firms in mid-February and received responses by mid-March.

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