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Asia Minute: Earthquake Delays National Test

Alberto G. / Flickr
Alberto G. / Flickr

More than 1,500 South Koreans are still displaced following the country’s second worst earthquake on record. The government says at least 57 people were injured in the 5.4 earthquake which shook the southeastern city of Pohang on Wednesday. The quake has also disrupted an annual event around the country. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

South Korea’s Prime Minister held an emergency meeting of government agencies today to discuss recovery plans from one of the worst earthquakes to hit the country.

While quakes are common in neighboring Japan, that’s not the case in Korea.

And it’s caused complications beyond injuries and damaged buildings.

The annual college exam had been scheduled for today, but it has been postponed for a week because of fears of possible aftershocks.

That’s the first time the nationwide test known as the suneung has ever been delayed.

College exam day in South Korea goes far beyond the SAT’s.

Nearly 600,000 students taking the test need to be in place by 8:10 am, and they don’t wrap up until nine and a half hours later.

In order to make sure students get to the test sites on time, all government offices open an hour later than usual—and most corporations follow suit.

Traffic is kept more than 200 yards away from the 1,200 test centers around the country.

And from 1:10 in the afternoon until 1:35pm, airplanes are banned from taking off or landing, and public transport is slowed because that’s the time when the English language listening test is scheduled—and the nation needs to be quiet.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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