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Education Role in Society Japanese law requires children to complete six years of elementary school, and three years of junior high school. Education at public schools is free during these nine years for children aged from 6 through 14 years of age. Almost all Japanese children complete the education requirments. Completing these compulsory years of schooling gives children the basic knowledge in a wide range of areas to succeed in adult life. Further education builds on this basic knowledge to prepare people for more intellectual jobs.

Primary Education Japanese elementary and junior high school students study such subjects as art, homemaking, the japanese language, mathematics, moral education, music, physical education, science and social studies. In addition, many junior high school students study English or another foreign language. Students spend much time learning to read and write japanese because the language is so difficult.

Secondary Education Senior high school runs for three years. To enter senior high school the students must pass an entrance examination. Classes include many of the same subjects studied in junior high school. Senior schools also offer courses to prepare students for college or to train them for jobs. About 95% of junior high school leavers go to senior high school.

Higher Education Japan has about 460 Universities and about 600 junior and technical colleges. The largest University is Nihon (Japan) University in Tokyo, which has about 80, 000 students. The country has 90 National Universities, which are supported by the government. Some of these universities--such as the University of Tokyo and the University of Kyoto--have exceptionally high reputations. Highly regarded private universities include Doshisha University in Kyoto and Keio University and Waseda University in Tokyo

Senior high school graduates who want to attend a college or university must pass the entrance examination given by the school of their choice. Large numbers of students compete for admission to the top Japanese universities. About 38% of senior high school graduates go to an institution of higher learning.