Beijing pollution affects Japan school

Kyodo

The number of students at the Japanese school in Beijing is expected to drop by 50 in the new academic year starting in April apparently due to serious air pollution in the city and its vicinity, a faculty member said.

The move would reduce the total enrollment at the school for elementary and junior high school students to fewer than 600 for the first time in three years, the member said Wednesday.

As air pollution becomes more serious, an increasing number of Japanese company employees stationed in Beijing have sent their families home, while those to be posted to Beijing from April — the start of fiscal 2013 — appear to have opted to leave their families behind.

Concern about the safety of children stemming from anti-Japan sentiment in China is also making parents hesitant about sending their children to schools in the world’s second-largest economy, the member said.

In the wake of major anti-Japan demonstrations in China last September over the disputed Senkaku Islands, some of which turned violent, the number of Japanese visitors to China has seen a sharp decline.