Yes there are. As mentioned in Question 13, ethnic and cultural education is not provided in Japanese schools and in general very little attention is paid to the students with multicultural backgrounds. Thus, in order to provide more culturally appropriate education, there are some ethnic schools in Japan.
However, the Japanese government has argued to the United Nations that its education system is not discriminatory because foreign students are given a choice as to whether they want to attend Japanese schools or non-Japanese schools. In fact, the choice is not really a reasonable option because non-Japanese schools face Japanese government institutional discrimination. This in turn prevents many from choosing to attend ethnic schools.
As of 2016 the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) data there are 124 foreign schools in Japan and approximately 24,000 students. In addition to some 60 Korean schools operated by the Chongryun, there are 5 Chinese schools, more than 30 international schools with English as the instruction language, 15 Latin American schools such as Brazilian and Peruvian and several European schools such as French and German.
The schools do not receive subsidies from the Japanese government and tuition fees at foreign schools vary from 20,000-100,000 yen a month. Moreover, because the schools are not regarded as “legitimate schools” under Japanese law the diplomas from these schools prove to be a disadvantage to the students when they pursue higher education or look for a job. In order for the schools to be deemed legitimate, they must change their curricula in accordance with the MEXT guidelines, which would be the use of approved textbooks and hiring teachers with Japanese teaching credentials. The foreign schools are categorized as “miscellaneous schools” along with driving schools and beauty schools because they do not meet the above criteria.
In the foreign schools classes are taught in ethnic languages following unique curricula under autonomous teacher credential programs. However, the “miscellaneous schools” are excluded from various educational rights that guarantee an equal opportunity to learn.
Furthermore, there are number of schools that are not even classified as “miscellaneous schools.” These so-called unauthorized schools often do not even have proper school buildings or schoolyards and out of necessity hold classes in residential buildings. Financial management in these schools is overburdened because they must pay tax on the school revenue accrued through tuition payments and students are not eligible to concession travel passes. The majority of these schools are Brazilian, and have been on the increase since the 1990s. However, after the 2008 Lehman Brothers collapse many parents lost their jobs placing further strain on the schools. Without any financial support from the Japanese government, as of 2014 the number has halved and now there are only about 50 Brazilian schools.
Similarly, Korean schools are facing a serious financial crisis because they have been excluded from the national government’s high school free tuition program. Furthermore, a number of prefectural and municipal governments such as Tokyo and Osaka have also suspended educational subsidies for Korean schools (see Q2).
In Japan, students with multicultural backgrounds are not provided with any special education in Japanese schools, those who choose to attend foreign schools bear a tremendous financial burden. In fact, some foreign students cannot attend any school and are left without access to education.
To the world Japan is considered a “developed” country however it is still in the “developing” stage in human rights laws and practices because it continues to deny minority students equal educational rights.