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Tokyo makes high school free for all families, even the rich ones

31 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Despite its characterization as a studious society that values formal education, high school isn’t part of compulsory education in Japan. That said, the chances of finding employment that pays enough to become financially independent with merely a junior high education in Japan are extremely low.

In other words, legally, Japanese kids don’t have to attend high school, but practically, they pretty much do. But since high school isn’t technically required, parents have to pay tuition, even if their children are attending public high school (much like how state universities in the U.S. charge tuition).

However, that situation will soon be changing in Tokyo. Governor Yuriko Koike has announced that for the 2024 academic year (which begins this coming spring), the Tokyo metropolitan government will be abolishing its current income cap for tuition waivers.

Under the current system, Tokyo families with a household income of under 9.1 million yen are exempt from tuition fees for public high schools, while those earning more must pay. In 2024, however, the income condition will be removed, making public high school free for all Tokyo families. In addition, Koike is pledging that Tokyo will provide supplements to national government subsidies for students attending private schools, with the goal being for the financial burden to be completely eliminated for their families as well.

“We will be urgently making the utmost effort to provide support to child-raising households,” said Koike in announcing the policy changes.

With a post middle-school education now practically a must for becoming a self-sufficient member of Japanese society, a strong argument can be made that the time has come for local governments to provide one. In addition, as with all government initiatives benefitting child-raising households, it’s likely the new policy’s architects hope that it will help boost Japan’s historically low birth rate, as financial concerns and pressures are a common reason Japanese couples remain childless.

At the same time, though the current yen/U.S. dollar exchange rate may not make the converted value appear particularly rosy, a household with an income of 9.1 million yen is relatively well off, even in Tokyo, and even with consumer prices in Japan rising. There are many full-time jobs that pay less than half of that figure, especially positions held by workers at earlier stages of their careers. For the many dual-income households of young, child-bearing-age couples who already make less than 9.1 million yen a year, expanding the free high school availability to wealthier families doesn’t create a smoother path to parenthood.

It’s also unclear whether the Tokyo metropolitan government’s coffers are so full that it’s willing/able to cover the loss of tuition from families earning more than 9.1 million yen all by itself, or if the expanded benefits will be financed by increased taxes, and which sections of society will be paying them.

Source: FNN Prime Online via Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Kyoto families angered by new policy forcing high school students to buy tablets at own expense

-- Medical bills to be free in all Tokyo wards for high school students, younger kids from next year

-- Top five Japanese prefectures for childhood education expenditure would make any wallet shudder

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

31 Comments
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shogun36Today  02:20 pm JST

It's a start. The reality is that High School is only optional in theory these days. Tokyo as the capital is just taking the lead to remedy a situation given the lack of national level legislation on the issue. It increases the already high attraction of Tokyo, so any prefecture that can squeeze out the money would hopefully follow to avoid losing even more people to Tokyo, and when enough prefectures have something similar it may be legislated at the national level.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tokyo makes high school free for all families, even the rich ones

Good for Tokyo and the rich families..............

Now how about the middle-lower class families, NOT in Tokyo?

Oh wait.

Anything outside of Tokyo doesn't exist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Encourage people to use public education is absolutely correct. 

Many of those people would if they could. Many, if not most, of the expensive private high schools serve the students who are unable to get into cheaper public high schools. This is a shameful situation for a developed country.

As the article explains, senior high school is optional in Japan, therefore the authorities feel it's right to charge money for it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's about time Japan educates its people so they can keep tabs on what their Government is doing.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

So living in the countryside, I have to pay for this?

It depends on where exactly you live, surely.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

There is still plenty to pay for, from July to school uniforms. These still pose real challenges for the very poorest.

I meant juku, not July. For many, academic advancement beyond high school requires additional tuition.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

expanded benefits will be financed by increased taxes, and…

ccp vote for me! Here s some New taxes free for alls!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'm gonna go back to HS. Can attend for free whilst making lots of new friends!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

So living in the countryside, I have to pay for this?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

In Japan there is NOTHING FREE not even the air you breath, they will find a way to squeeze few yens here and there JUST WATCH AND SEE.

There is still plenty to pay for, from July to school uniforms. These still pose real challenges for the very poorest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What is an average public high school tuition? I'm surprised that wasn't touched upon.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

can assure you the coffers are not full and someone will be paying for others kids to get educated.

I'm happy to pay for others' children 5ongwt educated. Without an educated workforce, the country will be poorer and lead to a worse society in the future.

This is a good use of taxes.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Free means I don’t have to pay anything, still having to pay ¥30lk a month in expenses at school/nursery is not free. Rich people don’t require government help btw..

5 ( +5 / -0 )

9.1 million yen a year is pretty hefty. I don't think they really need to have their kids' high school education funded by tax payers. Mid to low income - yes.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I find it truly strange that a modern manufacturing country that surely must rely on a stream of well educated workers to charge for the education of 15 to 18 year olds. Although I believe tuition fees to attend university are significantly lower than most other modern countries.

Here in England 30 hours of free childcare is available for working parents for 3 to 4 year olds and all education is free from Infants at 4 years old to 18 and universities tuition only fees are capped at £ 9250 (1720500 Yen) which the students can burrow from a government sponsored scheme, interest is charged.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FREE, NEVER I will believe it when I see it.

In Japan there is NOTHING FREE not even the air you breath, they will find a way to squeeze few yens here and there JUST WATCH AND SEE.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

In my country University is free, why not make High school free for everyone in Japan no matter your class.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I guess the rich....just get richer.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Im not against this, because 9.1m in gross income in Tokyo won't be much for a family with kids.

However, subsidies paying full whack for duff private senior highs which are just escalator schools to affiliated private universities sounds like a waste of public money. It is also open encouragement for such schools to raise their prices further.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Free propaganda for the kids.

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

Pre -2024 gubernatorial election vote buying by Koike!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

Whoa. Shocking. Leaping into the 20th century there.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The current economy is a brain economy. We can't afford to lose any brains. Someday, ALL education will be free.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Naturally, there will be a lot of criticism. Coming from a culture that has shown great resistance to change in policy. Changes like this are a step in the right direction to reviving the population decline. Time and time again, we hear how younger generations don't want kids because of the expenses

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Foreign folks have been quite astonished when I have mentioned that over 15 year olds in Japan don't have an automatic right to attend senior high school as a part of continuing education.

And the disbelief has been even greater when I've said they must sit entrance exams to attend high school and if they fail, their only choice is to attend a private school with higher fees.

Perhaps another brick in the wall is being removed.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Under the current system, Tokyo families with a household income of under 9.1 million yen are exempt from tuition fees for public high schools, while those earning more must pay.

Meanwhile those earning under 2 million yen per year pay the whole suite of residence, pension, income and associated taxes.

A case study in regressive taxation, and looks to be appealing to a well-heeled LDP base.

Or better put as neo-feudalism which is the LDP tack, where the taxes of workers go to support the landed class.

It is in keeping with all the corporate welfare/subsidies socialism for the rich the LDP likes handing out.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

Giving taxpayer money to over prices private schools that assist in long term inequity when it comes to automatic university acceptance is just wrong. Encourage people to use public education is absolutely correct. Private has no business with tax payer money.

24 ( +28 / -4 )

It’s also unclear whether the Tokyo metropolitan government’s coffers are so full that it’s willing/able to cover the loss of tuition from families earning more than 9.1 million yen all by itself, or if the expanded benefits will be financed by increased taxes, and which sections of society will be paying them.

I can assure you the coffers are not full and someone will be paying for others kids to get educated.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

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