Japan OKs Conversation during School Lunch Conditionally

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Tokyo, Nov. 29 (Jiji Press)--Japan's education ministry on Tuesday issued a notice to boards of education across the country to allow students to have conversations during school lunch if appropriate coronavirus measures are taken.

The notification followed the deletion from the government's basic COVID-19 policy of a phrase seeking "mokushoku," or silent eating and drinking, in principle.

The term mokushoku, introduced following the spread of the novel coronavirus, has not been used in the ministry's hygiene management manual for schools. In reality, however, the mokushoku rule has been in place at schools around the country as the ministry called on schools to ensure that students do not sit face-to-face or talk loudly during school lunch to prevent droplets from spreading.

Still, an increasing number of local governments are relaxing the mokushoku rule during school lunch and urging the central government to review the manual as the infection situation is relatively improving, claiming that such restrictions could adversely affect the development of children.

In the latest notice, the ministry said that it is possible for students to have conversations during school lunch if appropriate measures in terms of seating arrangements and ventilation, for example, are taken.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press