National / Social Issues

Japan urges measures against coronavirus discrimination

Jiji, Kyodo

The education ministry has urged prefectural education boards and others to take thorough measures to prevent discrimination and prejudice against workers exposed to higher risks of contracting the novel coronavirus.

The ministry's action, taken on Thursday, was prompted by a case in which an elementary school in Niihama, Ehime Prefecture, demanded that two children of long-distance truck drivers who travel to big cities such as Tokyo and Osaka stay home for two weeks. Three children refrained from attending school ceremonies despite having no health issues, the local education board said.

Recognizing the case as "extremely inappropriate," transport minister Kazuyoshi Akaba asked the education ministry to prevent similar cases.

In its notice to local education boards, the ministry stressed that any acts of discrimination or prejudice against health workers or those involved in maintaining social functions are "inappropriate and should never happen."

The ministry called for behavior based on accurate information on the coronavirus epidemic.

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