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Go Gateball! Enthusiastic High Schoolers Revive a Fading Sport

Most people think of gateball as a leisurely sport for the elderly to while away a lazy afternoon. Yet even as older Japanese turn increasingly to more diverse pursuits, the popularity of this “made in Japan” competitive game has been edging up among younger Japanese, particularly high-school students. We visited Aomori Yamada High School, known for its strong sports program and world-class alumni athletes, to look in on one of its most recent additions, the Aomori Yamada Gateball Club.
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Syrian Refugees to Study at Graduate Schools in Japan from Autumn (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 22 (Jiji Press)—A first batch of 20 Syrian refugees will be admitted to graduate schools in Japan this autumn under a Japanese government initiative announced last year. In May 2016, Prime Minister Abe Shinzō pledged to invite a total of 150 Syrian refugees in five years to study in Japan, in response to the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe. The Japan International Cooperation Agency w…
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Money Dreams: Foreign Students to Japan Face Growing RisksIdei Yasuhiro

Japanese language schools have been growing in number year after year, and there are now more than 600 in operation around the country. But many of their students have come to earn rather than learn, deceived by brokers touting high-paying jobs. They borrow heavily to come to Japan, where they find themselves struggling to pay off their loans while laboring for low wages at jobs shunned by Japanese.
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Japan to Start English Lessons for Third-, Fourth-Grade Kids in 2018 (News)

Tokyo, July 7 (Jiji Press)—Japan will introduce class activities using English for elementary school third- and fourth-graders when the next school year begins in April 2018, the education ministry said Friday. In a special notification, the ministry said that it will implement some measures under new elementary school curriculum guidelines ahead of schedule, including the introduction of the E…
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Opposition Hammers Claimed Abe Ties to Approved Operator of Dubious School

Scandal is swirling around Prime Minister Abe Shinzō as reports surface that he wielded influence through the cabinet organization to secure approval of a new veterinary school to be built in a specially designated strategic district in Ehime Prefecture. The proposed school would be operated by Kake Gakuen, an educational outfit in Okayama Prefecture headed by Kake Kōtarō, a personal friend of t…
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Restructuring at National Universities: Implications for the Future of Higher LearningMatsuura Yoshimitsu

National universities are seeing a restructuring boom for the first time in decades, with many faculties being newly launched and others being reorganized. Two key concepts behind many of these moves—combining the humanities and sciences and contributing to the community—are responses to priorities set forth by the Ministry of Education. But could these changes jeopardize national universities’ presence as Japan’s highest institutions of learning? Matsuura Yoshimitsu, an expert in higher education, discusses the university reforms now underway and their implications.
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Noda Eager to Run in 2018 LDP Leadership Race (News)

Tokyo, April 29 (Jiji Press)—Noda Seiko, a senior member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, has expressed her eagerness to run in a party leadership election in autumn 2018. At an April 25, 2017, interview, Noda Seiko speaks of her intent to run for the LDP presidency in autumn 2018. (© Jiji)  In a recent interview with Jiji Press, Noda, former chair of the party's General Council,…
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60% of Junior High Teachers Hit Overwork Death Threshold (News)

Tokyo, April 28 (Jiji Press)—About 60% of teachers at public junior high schools in Japan worked at least 60 hours per week in fiscal 2016, beyond the dividing line used by the state for determining death from overwork, an education ministry survey revealed Friday. Compared with the previous survey conducted for fiscal 2006, work hours went up for all job titles at public elementary and junior …
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Poop-Themed Kanji Study Book a Bestseller in JapanNippon.com Staff

Japan’s latest publishing sensation is a godsend for parents fretting over how to get their children focused on learning kanji. Unko kanji doriru (Poop Kanji Drills) applies a mountain of excrement to the problem with over 3,000 example sentences featuring the word unko (poop). The elementary school student’s fascination with the smelly theme has propelled the six-book series (one for each eleme…
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LDP Discussing How to Widen Range of Free Education (News)

Tokyo, April 3 (Jiji Press)—Discussions have gained momentum in Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party over how to widen the range of education provided free of tuition, since a new proposal was floated last week. An LDP group on a long-term economic vision, whose members include party agriculture affairs division head Koizumi Shinjirō, plans on April 5 to propose expanding the current social …
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