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Ogami Island school ready to close as last student moves

Date Posted: 2008-03-26

Tiny Ogami Island is about to lose another institution, it’s junior high school, as the lone remaining student prepares to move away.
The small island in the southern reaches of Okinawa Prefecture, just off Miyako Island, is home to only 30 residents now, and that number will soon drop further. Ogami,Island, which means Island of God, looks like a miniature Mount Fuji, and legends exist that ay many mysterious things happen on the island.
A 14-year-old boy is one of those mysteries, the last student at Ogami Junior High School. “I feel really sad to close the school, but there’s nothing I can do,” says Hikokichi Shimajiri, the community chairman. There are ten teachers for the lone student, but when he leaves the island soon, the school will close, as no future students are expected. The boy has been the only student since last year, when Ogami Junior High celebrated its 50th anniversary.
The Ogami Elementary School was closed in March 2006 because there are no students. A decade ago, the schools taught more than 60 youngsters. The average age of Ogami residents is 70, and young people have migrated off the island to larger population centers.

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