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In line with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s request last week that schools nationwide close their doors following the COVID-19 virus outbreak, 98.8 percent of all municipally run elementary schools have started extraordinary breaks, education ministry data has shown.

Of the 19,161 such elementary schools nationwide, 18,923 are now closed, the data showed Wednesday. It showed that 316 elementary and junior high schools in 20 municipalities have decided not to shut.

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