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At an office in Tokyo, a group of asylum-seekers clutching resumes listened to three Japanese companies describe their openings – rare opportunities in the country's often impenetrable job market. Japan accepts only a handful of refugees each year and they face hurdles to employment that can seem almost insurmountable, including language requirements, cultural barriers and discrimination. But a handful of firms, driven partly by labor shortages, are now hiring refugees.Among them is Dairyu, a styrofoam manufacturer whose CEO Kenichi Osaka was hoping to find two new employees at a job fair held Monday by the Japan Association for Refugees, an NGO.With its aging society, Japan has an unemployment rate of just 2.4 percent, the lowest in 25 years.The country is notoriously strict on asylum, granting refugee status to just 20 people out of nearly 20,000 applicants last year.An asylum-seeker at JAR's job fair, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had nine years of experience in customer service in the aviation and tourism industries.Among Uniqlo's refugee hires is Cing, who obtained asylum in Japan after fleeing Myanmar in 2008 .
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