Around 250 Junior High School Students Evacuate Wajima Seeking Conducive Learning Environment

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Many people stand near buses to see off junior high school students leaving Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Wednesday morning.

WAJIMA, Ishikawa — Around 250 students from three junior high schools in Wajima, Ishikawa Prefecture, left the city and moved in groups to two public facilities in Hakusan in the prefecture on Wednesday. The students were seeking a conducive learning environment.

The groups comprised only those, among all the students, whose parents or guardians consented to the temporary evacuation. The students will stay in Hakusan for up to two months.

On Wednesday morning, they waved goodbye to their families and friends before boarding the large buses that marked the beginning of their journey.

One of the young evacuees, a 14-year-old student of Wajima Junior High School, will have to sit for a high school entrance exam in two months. After the earthquake, which damaged her family home, she evacuated to a local shelter with about 60 people, including her family of eight. It was an oppressive study environment. At the Hakusan facility the student has moved to, about 100 kilometers away, there is a dining hall and communal bathrooms.

The student’s mother, 37, gave it much thought before consenting to the temporary evacuation. She told herself, “My daughter can focus more on her studies at a place with a better living environment.”

The student admitted to having concerns but felt encouraged and reassured because many of her friends were also going.

“I’ll do my best,” she said and waved to her parents before getting aboard the bus.