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June 06, 2003

Over 2,000 Schools Close in Decade

Underpopulation and decline in birth rates led 2,125 schools from elementary to high school level to close nationwide during a 10-year period between fiscal 1992 and fiscal 2001, an education ministry panel said Wednesday. Of the closed schools - 70% of which were elementary schools - 248 are in Hokkaido, followed by 165 in Tokyo and 143 in Niigata Prefecture, the research panel said. It said 61% of the closed school facilities are still used for various purposes - from public gyms to offices for venture capital companies - while 13% are not utilized at all and the rest have been razed. (Kyodo)

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