2002 Report Summary: Committee on Multi-Cultural and Inclusive Education
The number of registered foreign residents in Japan was about 1.8 million in December 2001. Since 1992, the number of temporary residents have been exceeding that of permanent foreign residents, and also the "new-comer" foreigners are on the increase. It is expected that Japan will increasingly be a multiracial state, given that the number becomes even larger if it includes Japanese who have foreign roots or have a non-Japanese person as a parent and unregistered foreign residents.
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Japan ratified in 1979, and Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Japan ratified in 1994, both ensure the rights to education as "the rights for all children" while they also orient toward the multi-cultural and inclusive education. They ensure the rights to ethnic education in which minorities' rights to preserve their cultural identities and to use their first languages are respected.
In spite of all these facts, Japanese educational administration policies and laws still remain defining education as "the development of the Japanese nation."
School Education Law of Japan obliges Japanese parents to have their children receive compulsory edcation while it does not create such an obligation for the parents of foreign nationalities. Although they can enroll schools if they wish, there are a large number of new-comer children who are out of schools. It is not sufficient at all to send their homes a pamphlet as a follow-up to those out-of-school children. Meanwhile, it is also hard to say that the actual educational practices in schools currently embrace the philosophy of multicultural, inclusive education. As there are increasing number of Brazilian schools, the number of children who do not choose to attend a Japanese school is not small. Such a situation reveals not only the problem of Japanese language education at schools but also various other issues that Japanese schools face, including a lack of ensurement of the students' first language; lack of strong committment toward the multicultural, inclusive education; and a tendency to exclude "different others."
This research reports the results of survey as well as implications and discussions on how we can ensure the educational rights of ethnically minority students and on what multicultural and inclusive education may mean in practice. Table of contents of this report is as follows:
I. What is "multicultural and inclusive education"? - What the school education faces
II. To ensure the children's rights to attend schools
III. What is "the problem of Japanese language"? - In relation to learning, the first language, and identity
IV. Their life styles and the Japanese society (Cases of returned Japanese from China)
V. How to mobilize community resources
VI. Education that Korean residents want
VII. Seeing Japan from the problem of multilanguage education
VIII. Multicultural education and the ensurement of access to continued educational career and higher education
IX. Recommendations for multicultural and inclusive education (21 items)