University in Tokyo holds entrance ceremony 1 year late amid pandemic

Mar 30 , 2021. 19 hours ago – 15:23 KYODO NEWS

Sophia University students celebrate at the venue of a belated enrollment ceremony in Tokyo on March 29, 2021. (Kyodo)

TOKYO – Sophia University in Tokyo held Monday the first of a series of belated entrance ceremonies for last year’s freshers who are now about to enter their second year after the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancelation of the original event last spring.

Some other universities across Japan are also planning to hold such ceremonies to formally welcome last spring’s intake, whose campus life has been greatly restricted by the health crisis. The academic year starts in April in Japan

Monday’s ceremony was attended by about 350 students who are about to complete their first year. Sophia University will hold a total of six ceremonies through Wednesday to avoid excessive crowding, allowing up to 400 people at one time into a large classroom with capacity to seat up to 700.

“It’s finally begun. I’m looking forward to attending classes and talking with friends,” said a 20-year-old male economics student who attended Monday’s event.

The university will resume face-to-face lectures from next month, having held most classes online since last spring. It also plans to continue to hold some lectures online.

“You have all had a turbulent year,” Yoshiaki Terumichi, president of the university, said in the ceremony. “Be aware that you are a small group of people who have been given the opportunity to study.”

Most universities in Japan held lectures largely online in the first semester from April 2020, the education ministry said.

As of October, when the second semester began, more than 180 universities, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area where the number of infected people is high, were still holding a majority of lectures online, the ministry said.