Survey: 68.3% of Toilets in Japan’s Public Elementary, Junior High Schools Are Western-Style

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Traditional Japanese toilets and a Western-style toilet

Nearly 70% of the toilets in public elementary and junior high schools across the country are Western-style commodes, an education ministry survey has found.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology Ministry determined that 68.3% of the toilets were Western-style, up 11.3 percentage points from the previous survey in 2020.

Schools are being encouraged to switch to Western toilets, which are easier for elderly people to use, as schools are used as evacuation centers during disasters. Traditional Japanese toilets, also known as squat toilets, are floor-level facilities that require the user to squat or crouch over them.

The survey covered toilets in school buildings and gymnasiums used by students. Out of approximately 1.33 million toilets, about 910,000 were Western-style as of Sept. 1.

The rate of Western-style toilets was highest in Toyama Prefecture (86.5%), followed by Tokyo (82.2%) and Okinawa Prefecture (81.5%). The lowest rates included Yamaguchi Prefecture (47.2%), Shimane Prefecture (48.0%) and Saga Prefecture (52.4%).

The survey was launched in response to the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. In the initial survey, Western-style toilets accounted for 43.3% of the total, with traditional Japanese-style toilets being more prevalent.