Early Childhood Education in Japan

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Warintorn Wuwongse


This paper provides data and fundamental knowledge on early childhood education in Japan. The early childhood education system in Japan differs from that in other countries as in Japan there are 2 main ministries in charge of the education; namely, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare (MHLW). As a result, there are 2 major types of early childhood schools: Kindergarten (幼稚園) under MEXT, and the Nursery School (保育所) under MHLW. In addition to these two school types, there is also the recently-established Certified Children School (認定こども園) under the Cabinet Office. However, the numbers are still small. This paper also reviews the policies of and approaches to early childhood education of MEXT, and presents its current and future action plans. Briefly, 3 topics on Japanese early childhood education are covered in this paper: 1. The early childhood education system 2. Policies of and approaches to early childhood education 3. Current and future action plans


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Author Biography

Warintorn Wuwongse, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University

Japanese Department; Assoc.Prof.


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