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Japanese teens rank second-to-last on knowledge of environmental issues: UNICEF

The average Japanese 15-year-old ranked 36th out of 37 developed nations in knowledge about environmental issues, according to a report released by UNICEF on June 15.

The document revealed that while Japanese students' basic academic skills are high, there is little attention paid to real-world issues in the classroom. Only 44.4 percent of Japanese students had some knowledge of the issue and could generally explain it or were very knowledgeable about the issue and could explain it in detail for five or more of the seven environmental topics given on a test.

The students were presented with issues such as the increase of greenhouse gases and the use of genetically modified products to see if they were knowledgeable about production and consumption practices for a sustainable environment.

The average for the 37 countries was 62.1 percent, with Portuguese teens ranking the highest at 82 percent. Britain came in ninth at 67.8 percent, the United States 20th at 61 percent, and France 25th at 58.4 percent.

The UNICEF report compared the results with 25 different sources of data for developed countries, including data from the World Health Organization and the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development relating to 10 of the United Nations' sustainable development goals relating to children.

On the other hand, Japan ranked second out of 38 countries and regions surveyed on basic academic subjects, with 82.4 percent of 15-year-olds achieving high scores in reading, math, and science on the PISA.

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