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Parents in a number of prefectures may be billed for damage to tablet computers distributed to elementary and junior high school children under a central government project, a Jiji Press survey found Monday.

The survey, conducted in late April, covered the boards of education in the capital cities of all of Japan’s prefectures but Tokyo, in which case Shinjuku Ward was picked for the survey.

Of the 47 respondents, 22 said there would be no charges for parents if the devices their children took home were damaged unintentionally in places other than their schools, while 15 said there would be cases in which parents were asked to cover the repair costs.

The city government of Saitama said that, in principle, parents will shoulder the costs.

The education ministry plans to make one tablet computer available to each elementary or junior high school child across the country under the project, which has been accelerated amid the coronavirus pandemic.

If the distributed terminals are intentionally damaged outside the schools, 19 respondents would request the parents pay the repair costs. Fourteen respondents said there may be cases in which parents are billed for damage caused in such a way.

Meanwhile, the cities of Aomori, Gifu, Otsu and Saga answered that there will be no charges to parents at all, even if the distributed tablets are damaged intentionally outside the schools.

“The users are children. The devices may get wet with rain, and they may be dropped,” a Saga official said. “We want them to use (the devices) without worries.”

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