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Business trends

Coronavirus sets online test for Japan's private cram schools

$9bn industry taps startup technology as government extends emergency

Atama plus offers online education material for prep schools. (Photo courtesy of Atama plus)

TOKYO -- Japan's private education providers are scrambling to go online as a prolonged state of emergency is set to paralyze brick and mortar classrooms.

The country's $9 billion private schooling industry has become an important plank of education for many families, preparing students for high school and college entrance exams. Cram schools have already been shifting to one-on-one tutoring as they grapple with the consequences of Japan's low birth rate -- but most have largely overlooked the wave of emerging education technology that has blossomed elsewhere in Asia.

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