Japanese schools face significant post-disaster struggles

Many schools closed because of the giant quake, tsunami and aftershocks that recently devastated north-east Japan.

Most, however, were determined to reopen in April, as soon as possible after the traditional 6 April start to the Japanese new term. Thousands of children affected by the disaster urgently needed a return to some kind of daily routine.

At a recent official count, 392 pupils and teachers were confirmed dead in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. Japan’s education ministry reported over 1 000 educators and students still missing, and two-thirds of schools – both public and private – damaged. Plans to reopen schools were thwarted, however, by a number of factors – like overcrowding in existing facilities and a lack of transport and basic services.

Moving children out of Futaba, Fukushima prefecture – location of the damaged Daiichi nuclear reactor – was also a priority.

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Category: Winter 2011

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