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November 29, 2004

Splendour in the Grass reported recently on the growing popularity of grass lawns at elementary and junior high schools nationwide. The appeal of the "green carpet" goes without saying for people from most western countries. But for students in Japan, where playgrounds are usually dirt or artificially surfaced, the experience of running and playing on grass is liberating. Schools are finding that more students take part in sports such as soccer and baseball, given the reduced chances of injury. The education ministry is providing financial support for schools that spend ¥20-90 million to lay 300 square meters or more of turf, an offer taken up by some 266 schools between 1997 and 2003. Including those privately run, about 1100 schools or 3% of the total nationwide, have a grass area for their students.

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