New School Opens in Nuclear Crisis-Hit Fukushima Village

Politics Society Lifestyle

Iitate, Fukushima Pref., April 5 (Jiji Press)--A new school offering nine-year compulsory education opened on Sunday in a northeastern Japan village affected by the country's worst nuclear accident nine years ago.

Iitate Hope Village Academy is the first facility for compulsory schooling launched in a former no-go zone set up after the unprecedented triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The institution in the village of Iitate in Fukushima Prefecture aims to improve the quality of education by integrating school functions after the number of students fell sharply due to an exodus of residents following the nuclear accident. The academy, run by the government of the village, will provide education programs for elementary and junior high schools.

An opening ceremony, held on Sunday, was attended by 50 of the 65 students and some 150 guardians and guests. While taking measures, such as wearing face masks, to prevent infection with the novel coronavirus that is raging across the country, participants sang the school song written by poet Madoka Mayuzumi and composed by singer Kosetsu Minami.

"As a top-grade student, I'm ready to lead younger students," Ryosuke Watanabe, 14, said, receiving the new school flag at the ceremony.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press