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Students Return to School in Japan's Disaster Zone






In the Japan's disaster zone, the school year that normally starts in early April is starting slightly later than usual, with many schools opening this week under an aura of tragedy.


In Fukushima, Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, which bore the brunt of the damage from the disasters, more than 1,000 students and teachers are dead or missing, out of an overall death toll that could top 25,000. With temporary housing still being built, many students are living in their own school's gymnasiums, while dealing with the loss of relatives, homes and classmates. 


from news article by Jay Alabaster











"They've all suffered, but they're still so energetic," says teacher Satoshi Saito. "I feel bad that we won't have the facilities to do everything we normally do, like sports tournaments and ceremonies."

With the gymnasium occupied, about a hundred students line up at 8:30 and cram into the music room for a ceremony to mark the start of the school year. A teacher tells Mizuki and his friends to close the top button on their blazers for the formal occasion. A few students have no uniforms and wear track suits.

"There are many here who have lost their homes and their families, and there are others who weren't affected. We have students under many different conditions. Everyone needs to take care and have compassion," says principal Tetsuya Murakami.

Then, in a gesture meant to inspire the students, he holds up a paper where he has written the Japanese character for "inochi." Life.




From News Article by Jay Alabaster

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The Japan Prefectures