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Cancellation of the Academic Year 2020 Graduation Ceremony

February5, 2021
Yuichi Hasebe
President, Yokohama National University

Dear YNU Graduating Students, Parents, and Families,

On February 3, the Japanese government extended until March 7 the state of emergency in 10 prefectures, including Tokyo, the three surrounding prefectures that comprise the greater metropolitan area, and the three Kansai prefectures. Designed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the government order was originally set to expire on February 7. Kanagawa is one of the prefectures under the state of emergency and, while the number of new cases is declining here in our prefecture, the situation remains serious with hospitals overwhelmed and the course of the outbreak unpredictable after the state of emergency expires.

Given these circumstances, we have decided to cancel the graduation ceremony for the academic year 2020 scheduled for March 25. Instead, each college and graduate school will hold a diploma presentation on campus, to be attended by the graduating students only. Further details on how and when the diplomas will be issued by each college and graduate school will be announced on the YNU website at a later date. This decision will not be reversed even if the state of emergency is lifted before March 7. Students unable to receive their diploma on the designated date should contact the office of their college or graduate school.

Over the past year the world has suffered from a once-in-a-century pandemic, and our students have been compelled to pursue their studies under unprecedented challenging conditions. It is worth mentioning that, despite this enormous setback, the research results produced by our students set to graduate this March were just as remarkable as the results achieved in any other year. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest respect for your hard work. It was our fervent wish to recognize your efforts and celebrate the commencement of a new chapter in your life at the graduation ceremony on the Tokiwadai campus, and preparations to do so were well underway; but considering the graveness of the situation as exemplified by the extension of the state of emergency, we have concluded that we must forego this important event.

Some of you may question whether we acted precipitously in making this call. We considered this possibility, but given the potential threat of the new coronavirus variants, the prospect for lifting the state of emergency on March 7 is uncertain. And even if the declaration is lifted on schedule, less than one month remaining before the March 25 ceremony would not give you adequate preparation time to attend, and could also impact your preparations as you embark on a new stage in life after graduation. Furthermore, recent developments in the United States and Europe show that a lapse in vigilance can easily lead to the rapid spread of infections. We have taken all these factors into consideration in making this difficult decision. Knowing what the ceremony means to our graduating students, it pains us deeply to cancel the event, but I ask for your understanding and cooperation to ensure the graduating class is able to take a new step forward safely.

You will not have a graduation ceremony, but the learning and experiences you have gained at YNU will stand out as valuable assets. We are proud to have this opportunity to send our graduating class out into the world and will be rooting for you always as you make the most of the academic learning and various experiences acquired during the pandemic in your pursuit to build a vibrant new society.
To the parents and family members who were planning to visit the Tokiwadai campus on March 25, we must ask that you refrain from visiting for safety reasons.

We regret to cancel what would have been a memorable event to mark the end of your student life. But we will continue to provide you with information about YNU in the years to come through KOYUKAI and other alumni association. Moreover, the YOKOKOKU DAY (annual homecoming day), organized with the support of the alumni association, offers an excellent opportunity for our graduates to mingle with other alumni, students, faculty, and staff. We hope you will join us at this event and take advantage of your connection with the university community to enrich your life.

YNU may take additional measures in the event of the outbreak escalating or in response to further government orders. Please check our website for any updates. Thank you.

(General Planning Office, General Planning Division)

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