A quarter of Japanese university students supported by a charity said they have thought of quitting school amid the coronavirus pandemic, mainly citing financial hardship and a decline in motivation, a survey by the group showed.

Asked to what extent they had given it a thought, 20.9 percent said "somewhat," while 4.1 percent replied "very much." Those who were "considering" doing so accounted for 0.7 percent, according to the online survey by the Tokyo-based Ashinaga.

A western Japan university resumes in-person classes on Sept. 24, 2020, after months of online classes amid concerns over the novel coronavirus. (Kyodo)
Ashinaga President Yoshiomi Tamai speaks during a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 30, 2020. (Kyodo)

The charity, which offers financial support to school-age children who have lost parents to illness or disasters, also found in its survey that 4.5 percent of the students had "considered" taking a leave of absence from school and 0.5 percent actually did so.

In a news conference late last month, Ashinaga President Yoshiomi Tamai described the results of the survey as "depressing," and said the charity will provide all of its 7,612 scholarship recipients with 200,000 yen each as year-end emergency aid.

With the survey reflecting how some students had lost their motivation to study, Ren Okamoto, a senior member of the group's student-led fundraising drive, attributed this to the impact of having to take "online classes that makes it impossible to study together with classmates."

The Ashinaga poll also found that 36.7 percent of the guardians surveyed have seen their income decrease amid the outbreak.

Asked what changes they felt in their daily lives, 27.1 percent of respondents who attend high school said their families have had to skimp on food expenses.

The online survey was conducted between October and November and collected answers from 1,674 high school students and 1,690 university students as well as 2,877 guardians.