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Gov't seeks more inclusion in education for foreign children in Japan

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Tough to implement, but necessary. Hope it works out!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Even for Japanese children resources are extremely limited, foreigners are just an afterthought.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

the need to create new licenses for Japanese-language teachers.

wounder if that means less complicated or more complicated process?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

The children are probably getting a better education through other means at home and avoiding bullying because they are not Japanese.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

And who’s going to pay for educating foreign children? Japanese payers, not the governments of the children’s home countries.

-27 ( +5 / -32 )

And who’s going to pay for educating foreign children? Japanese payers, not the governments of the children’s home countries.

So? Look at the bigger picture, better to have educated people living in your society, rather than uneducated one's, even if they are foreigners!

It's not going to make that big of a difference overall, and with many areas have fewer and fewer children attending school, due to the population dropping, it's a potential win-win for everyone!

Not to mention I would rather see my tax money used domestically to help these children, than some "bridge to no where" ODA project!

21 ( +24 / -3 )

Let's hope that they also train the teachers not to bully the kids. Hopefully, if my grandchildren are born with the same beautiful, wavy brown hair that my daughter was born with will not be forced to dye their hair black and get a straight perm.

13 ( +14 / -1 )

And who’s going to pay for educating foreign children? Japanese payers, not the governments of the children’s home countries.

All taxpayers pay for the education of all children.

25 ( +25 / -0 )

Good for them!

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And who’s going to pay for educating foreign children? Japanese payers, not the governments of the children’s home countries.

If the parents are tax payers here, then what is the issue?

26 ( +27 / -1 )

Story fails to address the issue of Korean schools. Are they included in the figures?

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

They’ve been saying this for how many years?

0 ( +6 / -6 )

more than 19,000 elementary or junior high school-age children of foreign nationalities in Japan do not attend school at all

This is not acceptable. The government is right to make sure that all children get an education. I am shocked that the number is this high.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@kurisupisu

Even for Japanese children resources are extremely limited, foreigners are just an afterthought.

I don't believe that the resources for Japanese children are limited. Schools here simply prefer to use outdated methods out of habit instead of innovating. Not all schools but most. Also, there are a lot of unnecessary expenses. When I used to work as a CNET for Osaka, there was a weekly meeting that equated to hundreds of thousands of yen each month just for transportation. A meeting that only provided 3 minutes of information. Then they would email a more detailed version of the meeting out to you. They could have saved so much money by just emailing out the information.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Another argument in favor of the September school start. A two month summer break would allow public school teachers a chance to travel and perhaps work on their English in a foreign country. Maybe there could be some programs set up for them. As it is now, most public school teachers only take one or two weeks off in the summer. Hopefully there will be a Covid-19 vaccine by next year.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

REALLY???? My son who is mixed Japanese is struggling in the elementary school because of me and has since grade 1 because I am a single mother. I have been begging for extra help for him and I MEAN nobody wants to give him that help at the school. With my income get him a private juku teacher once a week its expensive and so on help my son and others who are in this position before helping, outsiders. I stayed here so my son could grow up knowing his father's culture even if father chose not to be part of his life I did not want him to grow up not knowing. I know many other mothers like myself in the same boat go back make less money and struggle and or stay make a better income and struggle there is no win/win.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

@Ashley Shiba I am sorry to hear that a really shocked. I would try approaching some retired teachers who are getting their retirement pension and are bored to ask them to tutor your son in exchange for a nice meal once a week.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

@Ashley

You should demand child support from the father to help with expenses. He cannot just decide to be totally not a part of your child's life.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Another argument in favor of the September school start. A two month summer break would allow public school teachers a chance to travel and perhaps work on their English in a foreign country. Maybe there could be some programs set up for them. As it is now, most public school teach

September start will not mean that the schools will close for the summer. There is no way in hell the komuin in Japan are going to agree to allow teachers 2 months off either.

What you are suggesting is the "American" system, and personally speaking, those kids have far too much time off as it is!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

Before addressing this issue, how about addressing the issue of financial support for foreign children so they can afford to buy all the mandatory gears and books plus paying for the meals.

Many foreigners can't afford all theses luxury school gears like 15,000 jpy for a books case, or 10,000 jpy for a pair of shoes mandated by the school, or a 6,000jpy/ mth for meals unless their parents work at City Office, or they inherited a house from a grandparent.

Schools should be 100% free up to the end of Jr. high.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Students and teachers still go to school during breaks. That's why teachers are loath to take vacations

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@JJ Jetplane

Maybe the word ‘allocation’ might be more apt than limited.

If school budgets were greater and more funds allocated, then schools might not have to turn off the heating in winter...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

but the ministry urges public schools to accept and provide free tuition to any child who wishes to enroll based on international treaties.

"urges"? If this is "based on international treaties," shouldn't the government issue directives to the local school authorities instead of just asking?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

REALLY???? My son who is mixed Japanese is struggling in the elementary school because of me and has since grade 1 because I am a single mother. I have been begging for extra help for him and I MEAN nobody wants to give him that help at the school. With my income get him a private juku teacher once a week its expensive and so on help my son and others who are in this position before helping, outsiders. I stayed here so my son could grow up knowing his father's culture even if father chose not to be part of his life I did not want him to grow up not knowing. I know many other mothers like myself in the same boat go back make less money and struggle and or stay make a better income and struggle there is no win/win.

I'm sorry to hear that.

But, knowing what we know, I think any foreigner who actually marries and has children with a Japanese person has to be nuts. Date? Sure. But marriage? No way.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Foreign residents of Japan are not subject to compulsory education but the ministry urges public schools to accept and provide free tuition to any child who wishes to enroll based on international treaties.

Again with the stupid urges. Pass a law already! How can you not pass a law if you signed an international treaty?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"urges"? If this is "based on international treaties," shouldn't the government issue directives to the local school authorities instead of just asking?

They should. If they weren't inept. Sorry, I didn't see your post before I went off on my rant...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Free Child Education is the corner stone to all successful educational systems.

The pay back in immeasurable, the return on the money spent is 3 folds of that spent on defence & unnecessary public projects.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

wow that's a lot of kids but they're better off aren't they? They don't have to put up with bullying and will have a higher standard of grades that meet international standards. Their senior school years and university would be exemplary. There are also a lot of homeschooled Japanese for the same reasons. It fails a lot of people not just foreign children

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Society has a duty of care to look after children. This situation is unacceptable, though perhaps should not be surprising in a country with the lowest percentage of GDP spent on children in the OECD. It would be interesting to know which nationalities of children are slipping through the net and what type of situation their parents are in.

It is not an either/or but I think this about the same number as the kids on waiting lists for hoikuen, a much higher profile problem. I would say a child being denied an education for twelve years is much more important than a parent being denied state-subsidized childcare. Since poorly raised kids are more likely to turn to crime and (I guess) more likely to end up needing some kind of state assistance (health care, public housing, welfare, etc) it is also self defeating for society to let this happen on top of the institutionalized neglect of children moral aspect.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Good Initiation, its better Govt create the mixed school with foreign student by bringing new syllabus, giving equal preference to both English and Japanese language(s). And the school environment suppose to be more bully free and happy environment. It may be good idea to engage with educations institute(s) outside Japan. By doing so Japan is ready for the future needs of world. These foreign kids doesn't get any educational support. They send their kids to some international schools at very high cost. Its not at all affordable and many left Japan after school going kids.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

this is all about not letting them “get too far”, if you know what i mean... ... they will not leave Japan anytime soon, so “let,s try and make them think like us and talk like us ( “real“ Japanese people )”, ... all of this is for the protection of the “Japanese bubble”...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I raised 2 great young adults via the Japanese school system. Both successful attorneys today, highly educated abroad as well and proof that two worlds can coexist to success. I fully support and won't mind paying extra for anyone's education including foreigners.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ashley

 I stayed here so my son could grow up knowing his father's culture even if father chose not to be part of his life I did not want him to grow up not knowing. I know many other mothers like myself in the same boat go back make less money and struggle and or stay make a better income and struggle there is no win/win.

It is difficult , any decision you make should be based on the long time future and best interest of your son. It makes no sense for him knowing his fathers culture and not being accepted or unable to assimilate eventhough he was born here and knows only here. Money will never buy peace of mind or happiness in an environment that views you as an outsider. It is a small world, the child will look for the father when they grow big. It would be traumatic to the child making every effort ti see the father but the father not recognizing the child maybe because the father might have re-married and has a family and doesn't want disturbance.

There are many Japanyuki san who had kids with Japanese and not recognized by their fathers thus not recognized by the government as children of japanese citizens.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The fundamental problem is the Japanese society does not accept the concept of multi ethics and multi cultural! Basically Japan has accepted being an immigrant country, 3 million foreigners for such a small country is a very significiant sign! But the Japanese people still thinking in the old days!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Foreigners with children should put their children into schools or told to leave. It's not acceptable that 20.000 children are not being educated.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@ Joe Blow

Anecdotal evidence, I know, but here I am, more or less happily married and living here for 16 years, with my very Japanese spouse and my children of elementary school age. Not feeling nuts at all. There are healthier tendencies that can be had rather than overgeneralizing local cultures, don't you think?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I second what Sanctuaries Man said.

Here I am, happily married and living here for more years than I am willing to own up to, with my very Japanese spouse and grown-up children with their own kids of elementary school age. Not feeling nuts at all. Far from it.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I'm sorry to hear that.

But, knowing what we know, I think any foreigner who actually marries and has children with a Japanese person has to be nuts. Date? Sure. But marriage? No way.

I guess you meant well. But what a terrible thing to say. I've been happily married to my Japanese wife for 21 years and I've never thought twice about having our daughter with her. I also know quite a few happily married international couples.

I guess you are referring to divorces and some foreigners not being able to see their children. And I fully sympathize with that situation. But things can happen in any marriage. Life can be difficult anywhere. It has nothing to do with being with a Japanese person.

REALLY???? My son who is mixed Japanese is struggling in the elementary school because of me and has since grade 1 because I am a single mother. I have been begging for extra help for him and I MEAN nobody wants to give him that help at the school. With my income get him a private juku teacher once a week its expensive and so on help my son and others who are in this position before helping, outsiders. I stayed here so my son could grow up knowing his father's culture even if father chose not to be part of his life I did not want him to grow up not knowing. I know many other mothers like myself in the same boat go back make less money and struggle and or stay make a better income and struggle there is no win/win.

I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. My daughter also struggled in elementary school and junior high. Thankfully she has ended up at my high school and since my fellow Japanese teachers have known her since she was a child, they are looking after her. Her mother is a big help with her studies as well.

The biggest difficulty is going to be your son's Japanese ability and understanding the material. And he could likely use extra help. I wish I had been more insistent on working on my daughter's Japanese when she was younger, whether from my wife or someone else. (We speak mostly English at home). There are local groups sometimes that will help foreign children with their studies. There was one in my city but we didn't take advantage of that. Big mistake. But we are doing what we can now. It's never too late. Even an older lady in your neighborhood might be willing to help your son with his studies. Don't just rely on the elementary school. Reach out. And best wishes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A survey conducted last year by the education ministry yielded an estimate that more than 19,000 elementary or junior high school-age children of foreign nationalities in Japan do not attend school at all, including international schools.

One reason : Discrimination!

My son is 5 and in kindergarten. He has no friends because kids call him "gorilla otoko", "gaikokujin" and others. I saw a kid one time punch and kick my son as I washout to pick him up. I asked "Why are you doing that?" and he started bawling down the place like he was the victim. My son LITERALLY drags himself together to get ready for school. He hates school. He always plays alone and kids target him and bully him. Teachers say they'll talk to the kids, but what do you expect from a 5 year old bully?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This article is lacking a lot of information. Even the foreign kids that are enrolled in school are not getting properly provided for. I just did a lecture on this for my students who are studying go be social workers:

There are over 40,000 foreign national and 10,000 Japanese national (returnee) K-12 students in public schools that need Japanese language instruction. These students are spread out over 7,700 schools. 74% of these schools (5,700) have five or fewer students that need Japanese help. Only 2% of schools have 30 or more students who need help and can qualify for a full-time Japanese teacher. This is a major problem. I don't see the government hiring 7,700 new teachers even if there were that many available.

My son's school has a rather large foreign population in its district and has Japanese as a second language class. My daughter's school has foreign students, about 6, but does not have a Japanese class or even a teacher. My daughter helps where she can (a returnee from Ireland and a girl from Bangladesh can speak English), but she can do nothing for the Chinese and Brazilian kids. Not that it is even her job to help, but I'm proud that she does.

I proposed the idea of a magnet program to the board of education and they looked at me like I was insane. They could not comprehend the idea of a student going to school out side of their residence's designated school district, even if it was to the benefit of all involved. They also cried poverty for hiring Japanese teachers and made the process for volunteering so complicated and cumbersome that nobody wanted to do it.

Another problem is language. English is probably the least spoken language for foreign students. The top six are Portugese, Tagalog, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese. Good luck finding teachers who can speak most of those.

What does this lead to? For K-12 foreign nations students: high school drop out rate - 10% (1.3% for Japanese), moving on to college / tech school - 42% (72% for Japanese), becoming "irregular" workers - 40% (4.3% for Japaenese) and becoming a NEET - 18% (6% for Japanese). Japan is creating a permanent underclass. I don't know what the solution is, but this is a ticking bomb.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

We have a bi-racial daughter and recently moved back to Japan after leaving 8 years ago. In 2018 December, we reached out to a local Adachi Ku Junior High and were basically told that this school can't take her because her Japanese wasn't up to par. (as far as reading and writing) Speaking was no problem. She ended up going to a private jr high school and now has been accepted to the quite renowned 東京都立国際高等学校 Tokyo Metropolitan Kokusai High School. Her written Japanese is almost to par now. Point being, they didn't even want to try to help her. With this attitude, you can see where this may cause one not wanting, or unable, to attend school because of finances preventing them from attending a private school.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Instead of worrying about improving Kanji teaching techniques to foreign kids, the government and especially the MoE should think about improving the overall quality at Japanese public schools for all children. My son's elementary school has 6 PCs. The teachers weren't even capable of providing online lessons during his 3month COVID-19 break. What did Japanese public school teachers and administrators do for 3months? No much at all.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan so far behind in everything. Again.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Schools should be 100% free up to the end of Jr. high.

I think even public high schools should be free, I can't believe you have to pay here. You can't do anything but factory work or be a shop assistant otherwise

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who are they children of? Are presume they are mixed white and Japanese?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why do foreigners in Japan love to play the victim card. My kids do not look Yamato and have never had any issues at both kindergarten and school. They have always thrived and have loads of friends. What extra inclusion do people need apart from being able to attend school? Every form is in Japanese? Well, Japanese is the laguage of this land.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Are presume they are mixed white and Japanese?

Why would you presume that? A child with one Japanese parent is a Japanese citizen and is subject to compulsory education.

I imagine that most of the children the article refers to are the children of non-Japanese parents who themselves speak little to no Japanese and are unable to fathom their way through the red tape to get their kids into school, or to help them with school work.

Of those kids who are mixed with one parent Japanese and for some reason do not have Japanese nationality, most will not be white/Japanese; some three-quarters of non-Japanese wives and well over a third of non-Japanese husbands are Asian.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Some time ago it was mentioned about the cost of Japanese school uniforms, so I actually started to google it, and I was amazed at the cost, even plain white shirts are ludicrous prices, jackets, even a simple plain girls skirts, boys trousers were astronomical. do these schools have a monopoly on these uniforms? are they in cahoots with the local store? these simple clothes are not designer brands in fact they are probably cheaper!! I think that these monopolies should be stoped and told to reduce their price of their uniforms, this would help herd pushed parents to cope with money.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Thomas GoodtimeToday  02:14 pm JST

Japan so far behind in everything. Again.

Japan is so far behind which countries?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Could be useful to know what countries has good support for foreign kids who don't speak the local language

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The children are probably getting a better education through other means at home and avoiding bullying because they are not Japanese.

Very possibly but I’m very sceptical of home schooling. Is anyone really that much of an all-rounder to help their kids to a high level? How’s the online stuff these days? My Canadian friend kept his kid out of Japanese school but he was rich enough to hire tutors. His kid hated Japanese school and said the teachers were as bad as the students for bullying.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Let me guess. The local and central government will sit on these initiatives for a few decades until it all blows up into their face. At which point they will blame all failure and responsibility on the Japanese superiority and the foreigners' lack of social skills.

Instead of taking a look at other countries like Germany (which actually really care about integrating the foreign population) so that they can learn from them.

Just my two cents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Could be useful to know what countries has good support for foreign kids who don't speak the local language

In London a lot of elementary school will have staff members who are experts in teaching English as an additional language due to the relatively high levels of immigration. I imagine the same is true in some other parts of the country.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@AH-so this is very true, in my nature of work I come across loads of teachers, and my daughter is a teacher too, and they all say that not only do they have English pupils, but in some classes its not uncommon to have 6-7-8 different languages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We tried really hard to get our non- Japanese kids into the local public Japanese school. My family spent a year taking Japanese lessons and studying. Ultimately, the school said "no". They said that we don't know enough Japanese, our kids (ages 7 and 9) wouldn't be able to keep up, and they don't have the resources to help them. So, our kids are going to an English speaking school. It's unfortunate they couldn't get into the local school because we plan to live here for the reminder of their childhoods. We live in a Japanese community and yet we can't really be a part of it. Our kids don't have much of an opportunity to make local friends. I wonder if their writing system wasn't as complicated if they would have let our kids in. Having a single alphabet and no kanji would certainly make Japan a more foreigner and immigrant friendly country.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Leah, I can understand where your coming from, to be honest with you I've seen lots of foreign kids in English schools not understanding a single word, but believe me they soon start learning! they make new friends quickly and the other kids help the new kid get unto speed, so saying they are not up to a standard, but they would if your kids were dropped in the deep end, because most kids get on with it. it must be frustrating.and when you sort of segregate kids like this it must have an effect on both parties because they cant integrate, which causes problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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