• Kyodo News

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More than 550,000 applicants braved the midwinter cold to take unified college entrance examinations across the country Saturday, as the two-day event began at 725 venues on high influenza alert.

Masks and hand-washing gels greeted many of the applicants tackling civics, geography and history, Japanese and foreign languages, before science and mathematics complete the schedule Sunday. A record 811 universities and colleges are taking part in the exam.

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