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3 Ukrainian evacuees attend junior high school in east Japan city for 1st time

From left, Ustym Mosula, Anastasiya Nikhotina and Matvii Mosula are seen on their first day of school at Kiryu Municipal Seiryu Junior High School in Gunma Prefecture on May 2, 2022. (Mainichi/ Koji Osawa)

KIRYU, Gunma -- Three Ukrainian family members who evacuated to this east Japan city in March following the Russian invasion of their home country attended their first day of school at a municipal junior high school on May 2.

    Tetyana Nikhotina, 50, and four other Ukrainians came to Japan relying on her cousin Svitlana Ozhibko, 45, who lives in Kiryu, Gunma Prefecture.

    On May 2, Tetyana's sons, Ustym Mosula, 15, and Matvii Mosula, 13, and her niece, Anastasiya Nikhotina, 15, dressed in uniforms of Kiryu Municipal Seiryu Junior High School, posed for a commemorative photo at the school gate.

    "I'm nervous, but I have been looking forward to coming to school in Japan. I want to make friends," Anastasiya said while Svitlana interpreted for her.

    According to the school, the three students will tentatively be placed in a second-year class and are scheduled to take classes twice a week from 11 a.m. for two hours. They will be taught by assistant language teachers and Japanese language teachers in the city.

    On weekdays, the three will have online classes at a school in Ukraine from around 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., so the city's education board and the school will work to adjust their schedules based on the situation.

    Svitlana said, "I hope they will get used to school soon and regain their liveliness."

    (Japanese original by Koji Osawa, Kiryu Local Bureau)

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