Dear Keio students,
Taking the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) infections into consideration, Keio University has made the decision to hold Spring Semester classes online. Online orientations and course registration have already taken place, and regular classes have now begun.
In early April, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency and the university was also shut down. As yet, it is still unclear when the challenges brought on by COVID-19 will be overcome and life will return to normal. At Keio, the staff at our School of Medicine and the university hospital are doing everything they can, continuing to work night and day to fight the virus.
Under these circumstances, I would imagine that our students are experiencing much inconvenience. In particular, for our new students, students who came to Tokyo from other parts of Japan or overseas, and students who are finding it difficult to travel to or from Japan, I am sure your days are filled with struggles and anxiety. To prepare for the start of the new semester, at Keio University, the faculty and staff members have come together as one and have put various measures in place, centered around the undergraduate faculties and graduate schools, to create an environment where all of our students can devote themselves to their studies with peace of mind, as well to maintain the standard of our education, research and medical care.
For example, looking to the future of higher education, we have invested Keio's human and financial resources into improving various facilities, equipment, and information systems to improve the quality of online classes. And for Keio students who are finding it financially difficult to set up a suitable communication environment necessary to start taking classes online, we have decided to provide a subsidy of 15,000 yen.
Additionally, for Keio students who are finding it difficult to continue with their studies for financial reasons as a result of COVID-19, including a sudden change in their household income or reduction or loss of part-time work, we will provide financial support of up to 400,000 yen per student. This is in addition to scholarships provided by the government including those by Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) and MEXT's study support system. The money comes from Keio's approximately 24 billion yen scholarship fund, which includes the Keio University Degree Completion Scholarship, Year 2000 Commemorative Scholarship, and Keio Gijuku Iji-kai Scholarship. We are actively using these funds, and furthermore, we have urgently increased our scholarship budget by about 500 million yen. Should the need arise in the future, we will further increase our support measures. Details will be announced separately.
Keio University is determined to take every possible measure to ensure that all of our students can actively engage in learning, the arts, and sports without leaving anyone behind.
To our students, we ask that you act with the grace and decency that is expected both as a member of society and a Keio student. With the spread of COVID-19, what has become apparent is that even with the great efforts made by healthcare workers, governments, organizations, and educational institutions, these alone are not enough. The best measure to reduce the spread is awareness by and the sound and level-headed actions of each and every member of society. Don't be misled by unreliable information. Rather, determine which information is accurate and act appropriately. This translates to the learning methodology of identifying the true nature of an issue and bringing about a solution.
Yukichi Fukuzawa, the founder of Keio University, worried about people relying on those in power and being unduly compliant, unquestioningly following instructions and orders from above and not taking initiative on their own — remnants of the feudal system. Thus, he set about to foster citizens who pursue knowledge on their own, are not influenced by the current trends of the world, and possess a spirit of independence and self-respect, empowering them to act independently. The existence of citizens who can think for themselves and act on their own accord rather than waiting for the instructions or orders of others is also a measure of a nation's maturity.
Since its establishment in 1858, Keio University has overcome many hurdles and crises caused by wars and disasters, and as a private institution of learning evolved into one of Japan's leading comprehensive universities through the cooperation of benefactors who share in its philosophy. Whenever the university faces a crisis, the overwhelming support we receive through the power of shachu kyoryoku (the entire Keio community coming together and collaborating), fuelled by our students, alumni, and faculty and staff members, enables us to prevail.
Students at Keio University are not just students. You are all members of the Keio shachu. I hope that we can all work together to overcome this crisis and preserve the spirit of independence and self-respect as well as the liberal and benevolent atmosphere that has always been a part of Keio University.