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Japan's students left behind as world embraces online classes

Red tape ensnares schools trying to adapt to new coronavirus restrictions

An elementary school student studies at home using online videos from a tutoring service. (Photo by Shiho Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- Japan's primary and secondary students are at risk of falling behind the rest of the world as the country's wheels of bureaucracy have been slow to adapt to restrictions brought about by the coronavirus outbreak.

While advanced democracies across the world have thrown resources at public schools to ensure students are able to take lessons at home while under lockdown, just a handful of Japanese schools will roll out online classes despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring a state of emergency on April 7, which was extended last week.

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