Schools in Japan can reopen in April after coronavirus shutdown
Japan Timesj -- Mar 21
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government will not extend its current request for school closures across Japan to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus and will allow classes to begin as scheduled in the new academic year starting April, the education minister said Friday.

Speaking at a meeting of a government task force on fighting the coronavirus, Abe instructed the education ministry to draw up plans for the reopening of schools after a spring break through early April.

But Abe remained cautious in his approach to allowing organizers to hold large events, asking them to carefully examine whether the gatherings are necessary amid group transmission risks.

Abe made the remarks a day after a government panel of medical experts said Japan has so far avoided a surge in infections. But it warned of “overshooting,” or an explosive increase in infections, citing that some have emerged in parts of Japan, mainly in city areas.

The panel said school activity can resume in areas with no new infections but recommended that organizers carefully consider whether to hold large gatherings to reduce the risk of group infections.

“We confirmed that our school closure request will not be extended,” Koichi Hagiuda, minister of education, culture, sports, science and technology, told journalists after the government task force meeting at the prime minister’s office.

His ministry will compile guidelines early next week on resuming classes, he said.

Medical experts say people with existing medical conditions and the elderly are more likely to develop severe symptoms if they get infected with the pneumonia-causing virus.

The total number of infections in Japan has topped 1,600, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo in February.

News source: Japan Timesj
Jun 02
A national university in northeastern Japan on Monday ended in principle the long-standing custom of requiring documents be stamped with seals, in a bid to promote workplace efficiency and teleworking among its staff. (Kyodo)
Jun 02
Major firms in Japan on Monday fully started interviews, written tests and other activities to hire students graduating in spring 2021, with companies and students both struggling to adjust to unprecedented online recruiting methods introduced to cope with the new coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
May 31
High school students learning the Japanese language in the United States have had their knowledge of Japan put to the test in an annual quiz. (NHK)
May 30
The number of foreigners staying in Japan under a new visa for workers with specified skills totaled 3,987 as of the end of March, less than a tenth of the maximum set by the government in the first year of its introduction, immigration authorities said Friday. (Kyodo)
May 28
Seventy percent of Japanese prefectural boards of education say schooling will be limited in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, despite the government's lifting of the state of emergency, a Nikkei survey has found. (Nikkei)
May 25
The threat of sexual harassment is an all-too-real concern for Japan's student job hunters, and it is sometimes university alumni who use promises of patronage to abuse their position of trust. (Japan Today)
May 24
The health ministry plans to raise subsidies for governments that bolster staff at child consultation centers to help them deal with the surge in child-support demand caused by the coronavirus, informed sources say. (Japan Times)
May 23
The government has set an additional criterion for foreign students hoping to receiving cash handouts of up to Y200,000 ($1,900) for students struggling financially amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, making only those in the top 30 percent of grades eligible. (Japan Times)
May 20
The Cabinet approved Tuesday a program to provide up to ¥200,000 ($1,900) in a cash handout to each of around 430,000 university and other students in the nation struggling financially to pay for tuition or living costs amid the spread of the new coronavirus. (Japan Times)
May 20
The coronavirus pandemic has prompted authorities worldwide to introduce entry restrictions on border traffic. But regulations in Japan have sparked a particularly strong reaction from its international community, as it is the only Group of Seven member denying entry to long-term and permanent residents and has set no clear criteria for their return. (Japan Times)