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Japan faces crisis as overwork drains pool of policymakers

Applicants fall and retirements rise as elite civil service jobs lose luster

TOKYO -- Japan's elite bureaucratic jobs, filled by workers long crucial to the country's policymaking, are attracting far fewer applicants as the long, overnight hours exacerbated by the coronavirus drive many of the young employees in these posts to quit.

The 14,310 applicants for Japan's fiscal 2021 comprehensive national civil service exam represent a 14% drop from the previous year, the National Personnel Authority said in April. This number for the elite career-track test was the lowest under the current exam system introduced in fiscal 2012.

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