Japanese universities are set to provide students with cash to help them with costs related to taking online classes as the nation grapples with the novel coronavirus pandemic under a nationwide state of emergency.

Meiji Gakuin University said it will disburse 50,000 yen ($460) each to its 12,000 students to help them equip themselves with adequate internet connections and personal computers or tablets, with the Tokyo university switching to distance learning for its spring semester that began April 20.

Kanagawa University also said it will extend 50,000 yen each to its 18,000 students as the university in Yokohama is set to conduct online classes from May 11.

Shibaura Institute of Technology in Tokyo and Tokai University in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo, have announced similar aid for their students.

Tokai said it will give up to 10,000 yen to each of its nearly 30,000 students based on their individual needs to help defray the costs of securing internet access and buying either a laptop or tablet computer.

Spring semester classes, delayed until May, will mainly be conducted remotely.

(Supplied file photo)
[Photo courtesy of Nagoya University of Commerce & Business]

Shibaura said that it will reduce tuition fees for all of its students in the second half of the academic year by 60,000 yen, an amount the university regards as online-related aid for the first half of the year that started in April.

Tokai and Meiji Gakuin said they have also extended the deadline for tuition and other fees to late May to help alleviate the financial burden on students stemming from the epidemic.

Meiji Gakuin, however, said it is not considering refunding or reducing its tuition or other fees, vowing to "provide the same high level of education as in normal years, even though part of it has to be done through online teaching."

It plans to offer special scholarships for students whose families are suffering acute economic hardship as a result of the novel coronavirus such as loss of earnings and sudden unemployment.

Other universities -- including Tohoku University, Hiroshima University and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology -- said they will extend emergency assistance to students in need, such as those unable to pay their rent and buy daily necessities due to the virus' economic impact.

Tohoku University in Sendai, northeastern Japan, unveiled a total of 400 million yen in emergency assistance for students -- ranging from support for distance learning and creating part-time jobs for about 2,500 students to providing scholarships to those in need of support in their daily lives.

Hiroshima University in western Japan said it will provide emergency scholarships of 30,000 yen a month for students in urgent need.

"I am very concerned about and my heart bleeds for those students who may have suddenly found themselves in great financial difficulties and cannot properly feed their mouths as a result of losing their part-time jobs," Hiroshima University President Mitsuo Ochi said in a statement.

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