Voices from Japan: How Children are Living the COVID-19 crisis

The followings are from the questionnaire results of “Let us hear the voices of children” organized by the Save the Children Japan in March 2020.

I really hope the voice of the young people will be bigger and reach the adults

” I cannot stand that I cannot go to the game center, karaoke and Disney World, which I have planned to do after my entrance examination to the upper secondary school. Of course, I do understand that we are not allowed to go to crowded places. However, while I was playing badminton with my friend at a not so crowded park, a guy came to us and said “It’s because of young people like you who go out a lot, that causes the COVID-19 to spread.” And yet many people and even the elderly go to the Pachinko parlor. Until before COVID-19, children were told that we should go out and play instead of playing video games at home. I cannot understand that we should remain at home now. Our graduation ceremony was held in a small scale and the performance of the brass band club, which I belong to, was cancelled. I thought it is something that I had to accept at first but now I don’t know what to do with adults being too unreasonable. A friend of mine, who was playing at the park, was also told by his neighbor, “You don’t understand how dangerous COVID-19 is. Don’t go out of the house.” Should we weaken our health by staying lazy at home? My father and sister encounter many people in the train and station every day. If one of our family members gets infected by COVID-19, how could I protect myself from the virus with a terrible immune system? No one but my friends understand how I feel. I really hope the voice of the young people will be bigger and reach the adults.”

3rd grader at lower secondary school in Kanagawa Prefecture

I worry whether the country considers children and their rights

“I really feel a sense of discomfort and danger that we cannot provide education all of sudden without the government putting out a policy on compensating for the loss of educational opportunity. The day after the request for the closure of all schools, an explanation was given to parents that those who cannot take care of their children during weekdays due to the sudden announcement will be handled by the after-school care center. However, it is not understandable that there are no explanations and measures from the government for the loss of educational opportunity. I worry whether the country considers children and their rights. It is unacceptable that learning opportunities rely on materials that are open to the public for free. The country should not only protect its economy but also respond to its citizen’s rights more seriously.”

2nd grader at upper secondary school in Kagoshima Prefecture

I converse with people by lip-reading. So I cannot converse with people wearing a face mask

“I have a hearing disability and I converse with people by lip-reading. So I cannot converse with people wearing a face mask. It has become commonplace for everyone to wear a mask and I cannot ask them to take it off. But I want others to know that there are people are like me. Wherever we go, everyone wears a mask and that makes us feel like we are excluded and isolated because our way of communicating has been taken away. I did not realize that it is so hard not to easily and freely communicate with others.”

2nd grader at upper secondary school in Saitama Prefecture

We are worried of not having someone to teach us during these times

” Our teachers in school usually instruct and help us prepare for junior high but for us students in 6th Grade, we are worried if the life in junior high school will go as planned. Every day we have homework and before school break loads of it are given to us. There are questions that we hope someone would help and explain it to us, but during the afternoon our mothers are out. We are worried of not having someone to teach us during these times.”

6 grader at primary school in Miyagi Prefecture

Stories selected by the support of Japan NGO Network for Education (JNNE).

This blog is part of our COVID-19 blog series aiming to highlight issues affecting education, learners and education activists worldwide, including displaced populations, inclusive and adult education. We are also highlighting issues from regional perspectives in Africa, Latin America and several blogs will focus on youth.

Stay tuned to our Covid-19 webinar series for more in-depth discussions.

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The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) is a civil society movement that aims to end exclusion in education. Education is a basic human right, and our mission is to make sure that governments act now to deliver the right of everyone to a free, quality, public education.