• Kyodo


The annual unified college entrance examinations began Saturday as many parts of the country saw their coldest winter day so far cause traffic jams and force several schools to postpone the pivotal tests.

Applicants are required to take geography, history, civics, Japanese and foreign language tests at 695 locations nationwide to enter four-year or two-year universities. The academic year starts in April.

Heavy snow hit wide parts of the Sea of Japan coast as well as northern and western Japan, disrupting an pivotal day for the more than 582,000 applicants.

In Muroran, Hokkaido, police officers gave four students a ride to the local university where they were scheduled to sit the exam after their train was halted by an accident.

Officials at the National Center for University Entrance Examinations said they had not heard of such a case before.

The police said they were relieved to know all four students could take the exam. The math and science exams are scheduled for Sunday, the second and final day of testing.

Niigata and Fukui prefectures, as well as Hokkaido, saw much heavier snow than usual on Saturday morning.

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