Unified University Entrance Examinations Begin in Japan

The annual two-day unified college entrance exams began on Saturday, with the first day of testing marked by a stabbing near the University of Tokyo.

The exams, which also come as the omicron variant of the coronavirus spreads rapidly across the country, are taking place at 677 sites nationwide. The first day is devoted to the subjects of Japanese, foreign languages, geography, history and civics, and the second day to mathematics and science.

Test takers totaled 530,367, down some 4,800 from a year earlier, according to the National Center for College Entrance Examinations.

High school students numbered around 450,000, while the number of applicants who had already graduated from high school stood at an all-time high of around 70,000.

Unified exams help decide admissions to 864 national, public and private universities and colleges.

Coronavirus safety measures are being taken at exam venues, with candidates required to wear face masks.

Those who have been in close contact with coronavirus carriers are allowed to take the exams in separate rooms if they meet certain requirements, such as showing no symptoms. People with fever, cough or other symptoms can request makeup exams scheduled for January 29 and 30.

The Unified Exams, which replaced the National Center Test for University Admissions, are the second of their kind. The tests are designed to check candidates’ ability to think, make judgments and express opinions, including having them interpret information from multiple documents.

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