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Education System

  • 6 years of elementary education
  • 6 years of secondary education:
  • 3 years of lower education (junior high school)
  • 3 years of upper secondary, senior high school or specialized training colleges


Higher Education:
Colleges of technology
Professional training colleges
Junior colleges
Graduate schools

Schools in Japan

Japanese language schools

Those schools offer different programs but one main purpose: becoming fluent in Japanese. Japanese language school students will learn the Japanese language and culture within months – as opposed to years if they study in their own country. Course lengths vary, from a few weeks to 2 years. Usually, 18-month or 2-year programs – often called preparatory courses – aim to prepare for higher education entry. Indeed, a significant proportion of foreign students join language schools with the purpose of going to eventually enroll in a Japanese higher education institution.

Vocational schools

After senior high school, Vocational Schools teach practical knowledge and techniques in diverse fields such as Education, Medicine, Agriculture, Business. Upon graduation (2 years), foreign students are able to seek a job position in Japan.

Junior colleges

Junior colleges provide specialized studies that prepare students to be fully operative on the job market once they have graduated (2 to 3 years). Graduates receive an associate degree, which enables foreign students to work in Japan.


Universities provide advanced learning. Graduates (4 to 6 years) receive a Bachelor’s degree. It enables them to work in Japan. Likewise, foreign Graduates of Master’s courses (2 additional years) and Doctoral courses (at least 4 additional years) are awarded the right to work in Japan. Fields of studies are diverse in Japan. Most universities have Medical, Engineering, Law, Sociology, Education and Business Departments. Note that there is no public ranking of Universities in Japan. To go to Higher Education in Japan, one must be proficient in Japanese (JLPT N2 or equivalent level. Of course, this is what schools prepare their students for. Note that there are more and more programs in English – that’s the Global 30 initiative launched by the Japanese Ministry of Education.



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