AIZU-MISATO, Fukushima Prefecture--While there were the expected smiles, the semester's last day of school had a twinge of melancholy and a surge of renewed determination for children in the quake-affected areas of northeastern Japan.
For about 20 children, part of a group of 54 pupils transferred to this mountainous area in western Fukushima from the coastal town of Naraha following the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant accident, it was again time to say goodbye.
The 20 will soon be moving with their families to temporary housing in the southern Pacific coastal city of Iwaki and will attend school there.
"Please take care of yourselves, make many friends and have a good time at your new school. You will always be connected to the children at Takada Elementary School in your heart," said Kazutoshi Watanabe, principal of the school, on July 20.
In Shichigahama, Miyagi Prefecture, children attending Ekiraku Elementary School made resolutions to make the most of their summer vacations.
The school adheres to a two semester system, so there were no ceremonies. However, Mariko Endo, the principal, reminded the pupils they had good reason to be proud of themselves.
The school gymnasium has long served as an evacuation shelter.
"I think you have done extremely well these 60 days of school after the big earthquake," Endo said.
(This article was written by Takuya Ikeda and Takeshi Suzuki)
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