Japanese industrial output is diminishing at a truly frightening rate and Mizuho, Sumitomo, Daiwa and Nomura all have issues of their own, but Japanese banks may turn out to be some of the only places still hiring this year.
Despite bringing on thousands of people from Lehman in 2008 and then cutting another 1,000 soon after, headhunters say Nomura is still "selectively" recruiting.
"There's been attrition from Lehman, so there's some replacement hiring, but Nomura are also hiring for cash equities and derivatives," says one.
Nomura has avowed its intention to become the largest trader by market share on the London Stock Exchange. Promisingly, it has also indicated that it probably won't be making any more redundancies any time soon.
Daiwa has also been hiring in London. It launched a new global derivatives business last June and has since hired various senior bankers to populate it.
A spokesman for Daiwa said they continue to build their "award winning franchise", which very naturally "involves hiring the best talent" (although he adds that they're not just picking people up because they're out of the market).
However, headhunters working with the bank say Daiwa has put its European recruitment plans on hold for a while. "The pace of hiring has slowed right down while they wait and see what happens. That's not to say they've stopped - but they are on pause."