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Justice Ministry said Wednesday that it has decided to postpone this year’s national bar examination in response to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The ministry has yet to decide a new date.

According to the ministry, the postponement is the first for the bar exam since the current test system was introduced in 2006.

This year’s preliminary exam, which allows applicants to take the bar exam without finishing a graduate law program, will also be rescheduled.

A total of 4,226 people applied to take the bar exam, which was scheduled to take place on four days between May 13 and 17 at eight venues in seven cities.

Among the seven were Tokyo, Osaka and Fukuoka, all covered by the monthlong state of emergency declared by the government Tuesday. The remaining four were Sapporo, Sendai, Nagoya and Hiroshima.

A test with short-answer questions, the first stage of the preliminary exam, was scheduled for May 17, with its applicants totaling 15,318.

The ministry said that it received requests from applicants to postpone the exams in the face of the ever-spreading coronavirus.

The ministry will not contact applicants individually. Instead, it will keep applicants updated via its website.

Even if the tests are moved to another date, applicants will not need to apply again, the ministry said.

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