First nationwide survey on international children

October 7 , 2019

On September 27, among total 124,049 international children living in Japan who are in the age to receive the compulsory education, 19,654, or 15.8% of them were found not to be going or unlikely to go to school by the survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, or MEXT. This was the first time to see the specific number of children who are not receiving education while there is concern of increasing number of such children amid expansion of accepting international labor forces.

Komeito member Tomoko Ukishima, then Vice Minister of MEXT clearly stated the direction to conduct the survey receiving the appeal of its necessity by Komeito member Kanae Yamamoto on February 7 at the Upper House Budget Committee from the perspective of securing proper education for all children regardless of their nationalities. The survey was conducted from May through June targeting the board of education in 1,741 municipalities nation-widely.

According to the survey, 87,164 international children with resident registration in Japan were in the age of elementary school student, 36,885 were in the age of middle school student. And 101,399 children out of total were going to elementary, middle or international school.

1,000 children out of the remaining number of international children were actually not going to school while 8,768 were unable to identify the status of receiving education through the attempt by the education board of education. In addition, the number of international children who were not confirmed their status of receiving education at all accounted for 9,886, total 19,654 children were found not to be going or unlikely to go to school.

Prefectures with large number of international children who are not going or unlikely to go to school are Tokyo (7,898), Kanagawa (2,288), Aichi (1,846) and so on. Among ordinance-designated cities, Yokohama (1,675), Osaka (1,117) and Nagoya (875) are with large number of such children in the order.

Since international children are not subject to compulsory education and the number depends on the areas, there is a huge difference in the areas in terms of the respond of the board of education including the way to grasp the status of receiving the educations. According to the survey, 3.7% answered that there were rules in place by the local government on guidance or procedures for international children to attend schools.