Census: 20,000 foreign residents in Japan have not graduated beyond elementary school

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Elementary school was the highest education level achieved by about 20,000 foreign residents in Japan, according to the latest Population Census.

Given that, the government plans to encourage the establishment of junior high night schools in an effort to create educational opportunities for foreign residents that make it easier for them to study while working.

In the 2020 census, the category of elementary school was included for the first time among response options for highest level of education achieved. According to the results of the survey released last month, there were 804,293 people nationwide whose education did not go past elementary school as of October 2020. By age group, those in their 80s or older accounted for 90% of such respondents. This is likely due to differences in the prewar education system and disorder after World War II, among other factors.

Foreign residents with the same academic background made up 2.5% of that total, or 19,731. However, when examining data for those in their 50s or younger, foreign residents outnumbered Japanese respondents in every age group. It appears that many foreign residents are living and working in Japan without having received adequate education.

The central government places importance on junior high evening schools established by municipal and prefectural governments that help those who were unable to receive compulsory education. As of April this year, the nation has 40 junior high night schools in 15 prefectures. The central government has set a goal of establishing junior high night schools in all prefectures and government ordinance-designated cities by 2026.