Education Japan Langusge

Many non-Japanese children in Japan enrolled in special-needs classes for ‘language’ reasons

One in 20 public elementary and junior high school students who need Japanese language assistance belong to a special-needs class, the first education ministry survey on such a topic has revealed.

Extracts from The Mainichi

April 21 2022

TOKYO — One in 20 public elementary and junior high school students who need Japanese language assistance belong to a special-needs class, the first education ministry survey on such a topic has revealed.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology conducted its first survey on the number of children enrolled in special-needs classes at public elementary and junior high schools nationwide while requiring Japanese language instruction, and found that of the 52,922 children that required assistance in studying Japanese, 2,704 were enrolled in special-needs classes. The ratio was 5.1%, higher than the 3.6% among all children enrolled in public elementary and junior high schools. The result was announced on March 25.

Although the education ministry states that it “does not know the reason” for this high enrollment rate, those who have supported children of foreign nationalities testify that “in some cases, children are encouraged to enroll (in special-need classes) because they can receive Japanese language lessons.” While this kind of consideration can be expected to provide generous support, it also carries the risk of disadvantages in the selection of future career paths.

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