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Education

Japan weighs change to its traditional April start of school year

PM Abe considering 'wide range of options' as coronavirus shutdown continues

A ceremony to mark the start of the school year on April 8 at an elementary school in Saitama Prefecture, with the students keeping distance between each other in the schoolyard to prevent coronavirus infections. (Photo by Karina Noka)

TOKYO -- Japan's academic calendar starts in April, the same month that the country's corporations welcome their annual batch of young recruits. But now the coronavirus has rekindled talk of moving the start of the school year to September, which would make it easier for Japanese to study overseas and for its universities to attract foreign students.

Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda said Tuesday that his ministry is "conducting simulations" for revising the April start of the school year "as one option." He also said he needs to coordinate with other ministries, since any revision would "need to be observed by society" as a whole.

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