will say it is (unfair) to the 90 percent who completed the (required amount of) classes,” Ibuki told reporters. “But if we are too strict, (they will say) it is cruel.”

The ministry plan specifies that “the students are victims and utmost efforts must be made so there is no unfairness between students who completed the required curricula and those who didn’t.”

Ibuki said the guideline will be distributed later in the day to each prefecture and board of education.

Takeo Kawamura, chairman of the LDP’s Research Commission on the Education System, told reporters Thursday morning that it is important to clarify who is responsible for the fiasco.

“The situation that arose when the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck is often cited as an example (of how emergency measures were taken to ease class loads), but that was a natural disaster,” Kawamura said. “This time, it was a man-made disaster by the schools and the principals, and light must be shed on who is responsible.”

Kawamura also said drastic educational reforms must be taken to prevent a recurrence.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuhisa Shiozaki said the responsibility lies most heavily with the schools and the boards of education that knowingly let this happen.

“What is important is (to hold further discussions on) why many not only didn’t follow the rules, but also provided false reports,” Shiozaki said.

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