Belated entrance ceremonies held for students

Sophia University in Tokyo is holding belated entrance ceremonies for students who enrolled last year after the spread of the coronavirus delayed the original 2020 event.

The university is holding six separate ceremonies for last year's entrants on Monday through Wednesday, with measures to prevent infections.

The university planned the special ceremonies for the students who "have gone through an unprecedented year" with the cancellation of the event and subsequent shift to online classes.

It will hold a ceremony for this year's newcomers on April 1.

On Monday morning, about 400 students, who will be sophomores in April, attended a ceremony at its campus in Tokyo's Yotsuya district.

President Terumichi Yoshiaki told attendees that they must not forget many people around the world who are experiencing greater inconveniences, and are forced to fight tougher battles. He called on them to keep thinking about what they should do now.

Groups of students wearing suits smiled as they posed for photos in front of the signboard for their ceremony.

The university plans to offer most classes in person in the new academic year that starts in April.

A student who had taken online lessons over the past year in her home in Tottori Prefecture, western Japan, said she had felt lonely as she couldn't make friends. She added that she feels her student life has begun at last, and she wants to take on many challenges.

A survey by Japan's education ministry shows that 78 percent of entrance ceremonies at universities and other institutions were postponed or canceled last year.

Many universities across Japan plan to hold entrance ceremonies for last year's new students this spring.