Japanese education panel broadly OKs smartphone ban lifting at junior high schools
Japan Times -- Jun 25
A Japanese education ministry panel broadly approved at a meeting Wednesday a policy of allowing junior high school students to carry smartphones at school conditionally as means of communication during commuting in times of emergencies.

But the panel of experts confirmed that the ban should be maintained for elementary school students.

After the panel compiles its final report in July, the ministry will inform education boards across the country of the change for junior high students.

In a notice issued in 2009, the ministry banned elementary and junior high school students from bringing smartphones with them to school. As smartphones are now widely used, however, an increasing number of parents are calling on schools to allow their children to carry smartphones at school as a communication tool in the event of natural disasters.

Against this background, the panel agreed to review the ban for junior high schools under certain conditions while underlining the need to consider specific rules and ways to manage smartphones at school and restrict the viewing of harmful websites through discussions among students and parents, and teachers.

While seeking to keep the ban intact for elementary school students, the panel said that they may be allowed to carry mobile phones designed for use by children if their parents seek permission.

News source: Japan Times
Jul 13
A national facility devoted to the indigenous Ainu people and their culture opens on Sunday in their ancestral region of Hokkaido in northern Japan. (NHK)
Jul 09
About a third of parents in Japan postponed vaccinating their children during the coronavirus pandemic amid fears of catching an infection, a survey by a nonprofit organization showed Monday. (Japan Today)
Jul 08
In a move that will affect Japanese studying in the U.S., the government there said Monday that international students attending American universities will have to depart the country or transition to another college if their classes are moved entirely online for the fall semester amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Jul 05
Major Japanese wireless carriers recently launched a service to provide foreign tourists with disaster relief information via mobile phone short message service in the event of an earthquake or typhoon. (Kyodo)
Jul 04
Single mothers and women with less secure jobs in Japan have seen their employment opportunities upended as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage. (Japan Today)
Jul 03
More than 3,400 elementary and junior high school students and teachers have contracted food poisoning at 15 schools near Tokyo due to school lunches, local authorities said Thursday. (Kyodo)
Jul 02
The Japanese government compiled Wednesday a package of policy measures to promote women's empowerment, including a possible law revision to address cases of unpaid child support payments after divorce. (Japan Times)
Jul 02
A day after China passed and enacted a new national security law to govern Hong Kong, Japanese lawmakers kicked off official discussions over ways to welcome financial talent that may be contemplating leaving the international financial hub. (Nikkei)
Jul 02
Immigration authorities have resumed processing of visa applications, in a move expected to speed up entry clearance for foreign nationals with applications stuck in pending. (Japan Times)
Jun 30
Two universities in Osaka Prefecture evacuated their campuses on Monday after a bomb threat was made criticizing the English name of their planned new merged school, the operator of the schools said. (Kyodo)