Sexual harassment toward job-hunting students by alumni widespread

Sexual harassment cases by male employees targeting female students seeking their alumni's help in job-hunting are becoming a widespread problem, according to police and recruitment experts.
Students looking for jobs in Japan commonly contact their university alumni in order to gain insight and advice into companies they want to work for, often meeting them in person and in some cases, at bars or restaurants in the evening.
"I've been able to overcome the incident, but there are many who will be scarred for the rest of their lives," a 22-year-old woman said of her experience.
The woman, who graduated from university in March, was introduced to a male employee from a company she was hoping to work for in the spring of 2017, when she was still a student and in the midst of job-hunting.
He asked to meet her in the evening, saying he was "busy" during the day.
The two went out for dinner and drinks, where the man forcibly kissed the woman and asked her to come to his place after getting her drunk.
"It was all big talk and I honestly wanted to leave," she recalls. "But he started saying he had a say in recruitment and that made me feel I should not leave immediately," she said.
According to Japanese police, there have been a series of crimes targeting female students wanting to gain advice from male alumni since the beginning of the year.
A male employee from major construction company Obayashi Corp was arrested in February when he allegedly committed an obscene act with a female student at his home, while another from major trading house Sumitomo Corp was arrested in March on suspicion of raping a female student after getting her drunk. The latter was dismissed from the company.
The two involved in the Obayashi incident had met through an app designed to connect students and alumni for easier meet-ups, where employees register their university and company, and students can search for alumni working at companies they are interested in.
Such job-hunting apps are increasingly becoming a common method to meet up with alumni for advice. However, a recruitment consultant warns that while user registration may be rising, some employees do so with the intention of using it as a dating app.
Career consultant Akemi Ueda, who runs a consultancy firm catering to women, acknowledged the challenge some students who want to meet female employees instead may face.
"Students can acquire more useful information from female employees," she said. "But not only are there not as many women in the workforce, many are often busy with childcare and don't have time to meet them."
She recommends female students meet male alumni during the day in open spaces, such as a cafe, to be safe.
Many corporations in Japan are strengthening control over sexual harassment, but analysis shows how those enacted for job-hunting students are still severely lacking.
"Employees should be trained to understand that sexual harassment toward female students is unacceptable," she said.

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