SUPPORTING YOUTHS OF DIVERSE ROOTS AND AN INCLUSIVE SOCIETY
Since the mid-1980s, when the movement of people to Japan first began to increase significantly, the number of migrants and foreigners living and working in Japan has been on the rise. Along with that rise, Japan has seen rapidly growing numbers of children and youth studying at Japanese schools who have roots in foreign countries—i.e., one or both parents were born outside of Japan, regardless of nationality (hereinafter referred to as youth with foreign roots).
It is important to note that, given their diverse backgrounds in terms of language, customs, religion, home environment, and educational background, many youth with foreign roots experience difficulties adaptating to their new schools and society, finding employment, and so on. Japan must establish a support system for these youths and create initiatives to achieve multiculturalism in the local communities. Given the complex problems and issues of youth with foreign roots, the response will require a multistakeholder approach that involves government, schools, businesses, NPOs/NGOs, and others.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology conducted a nationwide survey on the enrollment status of non-Japanese children for the first time in 2019, and found that out of 124,049 school-aged children, 15.8 percent (or 19,654 students) were not enrolled in Japanese elementary or junior high schools or foreign schools in Japan. As can be seen from this result, the system is thus in need of reform since there is no guarantee that children of foreign nationality are receiving the educational opportunities and environment they need because there is no obligation to attend school.
Against this backdrop, JCIE has launched the Supporting Youths of Diverse Roots and an Inclusive Society (SYDRIS) initiative to build the social infrastructure needed to build a more inclusive Japanese society that can fully support youths with foreign roots. JCIE will act as a funding organization, utilizing funds made available under the Act on Utilization of Funds Related to Dormant Deposits to Promote Public Interest Activities by the Private Sector to provide grants that support the types of educational support, career guidance, counseling and adaptation support, employment support, etc., that youths with foreign roots require. By supporting the organizations that carry out these activities, we will encourage the creation of a social infrastructure that enables youth with foreign roots to smoothly transition to Japanese society. At the same time, in order to establish a systemic base that allows youth with foreign roots to achieve a stable position in Japan without feeling separated and isolated from Japanese society, JCIE will undertake research and engage local and national governments in dialogues to promote systemic and policy reforms.