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Japan to forgo shift to Sept. start of school year from 2021

2 June 2020 10:31
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Japan to forgo shift to Sept. start of school year from 2021

TOKYO. KAZINFORM Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Monday that shifting the start of the academic year to September from its current beginning in April is an option but does not need to be done hastily, effectively giving up a proposal that would bring the Japanese academic year in line with the global standard in the fall of 2021.

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The premier made the remarks after receiving a proposal in opposition to the shift from Noritoshi Ishida, policy chief of the Komeito party, the coalition partner of Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, participating lawmakers said, Kyodo reports.

On Tuesday, the LDP will also submit its proposal against shifting the academic calendar from next year. Given such cautious views against an early shift in the school year, the government is expected to formally abandon the plan soon.

Many schools across the country had been closed for an extended period due to the coronavirus pandemic before reopening on Monday. Abe has said he will consider moving the start of Japan's academic year from April to September, in line with school scheduling in many other countries.

In its report, Komeito found no sufficient grounds to shift the academic year in a hasty manner and concluded the drawbacks of such a move, including a shortage of schoolteachers due to a temporary increase in the number of first graders, would more than offset its merits.

The Komeito report encouraged the government to take time and fully study the matter with a national debate, rather than linking the issue to ensuring learning opportunities in the health crisis triggered by the novel coronavirus.

In a recent survey, around 80 percent of mayors across Japan disagreed with or were wary of the proposed shift in the start of the academic year.

Many Japanese people associate key points in the academic year with springtime, such as graduation taking place during cherry blossom season in March and enrollment occurring in April.



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