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Japan's school closures hit working parents, revealing weak support

Coronavirus measures test Abenomics' push for female employment

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe caught parents off guard when he announced his request for schools to be closed. (Nikkei montage)

TOKYO -- Japan's government, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has surprised the nation by requesting the closure of all elementary, junior high and senior high schools as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus. With the closure due to start on Monday and last until early April, the news has left parents somewhat perplexed about how they will cope, especially those who work.

Abe, through his economic policy known as Abenomics, had vowed to implement measures that were friendly to working parents and encourage more women to work. But the reaction to the school closures show that the reality in Japan is still far from Abenomics' aim.

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