Univ. graduation ceremony downsized amid pandemic

A Japanese university has held a downsized graduation ceremony amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Selected graduates and staff at Meiji Gakuin University attended the ceremony on Wednesday.

Like other schools in Japan, the private Tokyo-based university was forced to cancel last year's ceremony due to the pandemic.

Students not attending in person watched online from their classrooms with masks on as Murata Leo, the university's president, handed a certificate to a student representative.

Dressed in suits and traditional attire, graduates posed for photos beside a sign reading "Sotsugyo Siki," or "Graduation Ceremony."

Officials called on them to practice social distancing.

The graduates were also given the chance to be photographed with a virtual bust of the school's founder on their smartphones, using technology known as augmented reality.

One graduate said it's sad that she spent most of her final year of the university not going to the school. But she said she was grateful for the opportunity to attend the ceremony. She added that she had really wanted her parents to be there.