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Coding will be mandatory in Japan's primary schools from 2020

Tokyo aims to plug IT worker shortage and catch up to other countries

Students at a Japanese elementary school program a spherical robot's movements. (Photo by Shihoko Nakaoka)

TOKYO -- Computer programming will become a mandatory subject in Japan's elementary schools from April 2020, as the country seeks to train a new generation in highly sought information technology skills.

The basics of coding will be taught starting in the fifth grade. New textbooks approved by the education ministry on March 26 task students with digitally drawing polygons and making LED lights blink using simple commands, for example.

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