A record 208,380 elementary school and junior high school students throughout the country were absent from school for 30 days or more in fiscal 1996, the Education Ministry said in a survey released August 8.

The number represented an increase of 20,555, or 11 percent, over the previous year, the survey showed. Of those students, the number of elementary school children who were absent due to psychological reasons, including a “dislike for school,” rose by 2,919, to 19,488, from the year before. The corresponding number for junior high school students increased by 9,735, to 74,757, according to the ministry.

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