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Japanese education ministry not considering blanket school closures amid virus resurgence

Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Koichi Hagiuda is seen at the prime minister's office in Tokyo on Nov. 27, 2020. (Mainichi/Kan Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- The government does not intend to seek the simultaneous closure of schools across the country if another state of emergency is declared amid a resurgence of novel coronavirus infections, Japan's education minister said on Nov. 27.

    In a press conference following a Cabinet meeting, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Koichi Hagiuda stated, "The proportion of students and children who develop symptoms is low, and we are not in a situation where infections are spreading with a focus on schools. We are not thinking of requesting that all schools in the country temporarily close, as was the case in spring."

    Although the minister indicated that decisions on whether to close schools will be left to the discretion of bodies managing each school, he emphasized, "Temporary closure of schools in communities as a whole should be limited to necessary cases, and decided on carefully, from the perspective of securing education, and considering the impact on children's mental and physical health."

    Furthermore, regarding the new standardized university admission exams to be held in January next year, Hagiuda said, "We are moving forward with preparations to hold them according to schedule."

    (Japanese original by Akira Okubo, City News Department)

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