• Kyodo

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A quarter of Japanese university students financially supported by a charity said they have thought of quitting school amid the coronavirus pandemic, mainly citing financial hardship and a decline in motivation, a survey by the group showed.

Asked to what extent they had thought about quitting, 20.9% said “somewhat,” while 4.1% replied “very much.” Those who were “seriously considering” doing so accounted for 0.7%, according to the online survey by the Tokyo-based Ashinaga.

The charity, which offers financial support to children who have lost parents to illness or disasters, also found in its survey that 4.5% of the students had “considered” taking a leave of absence from school and 0.5% actually did so.

In a news conference late last month, Ashinaga President Yoshiomi Tamai described the results of the survey as “depressing,” and said the charity will provide all of its 7,612 scholarship recipients with ¥200,000 each as year-end emergency aid.

With the survey reflecting how some students had lost their motivation to study, Ren Okamoto, a senior member of the group’s student-led fundraising drive, attributed this to the impact of having to take “online classes that makes it impossible to study together with classmates.”

The Ashinaga poll also found that 36.7% of the parental guardians surveyed have seen their income decrease amid the outbreak.

Asked what changes they felt in their daily lives, 27.1% of respondents who attend high school said their families have had to skimp on food expenses.

The online survey was conducted between October and November and collected answers from 1,674 high school students and 1,690 university students as well as 2,877 parental guardians.

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