Social Justice and Equity in the Japanese Education System

Yu-Fei Liu


The purpose of this study was to investigate how Japanese educational institutions realize social justice and enhance Japanese students’ capacity for individual self-development in the education system, particularly in upper secondary education. This study involved historical investigation based on analyzing documents, field studies, and in-depth interviews. However, due to the particular social and cultural context of Japan, the preliminary analysis conducted in this study indicated that, despite equal opportunity in education often being emphasized and discussed, social justice is rarely involved in educational policy and research. We conducted in-depth interviews with Japanese scholars to confirm and clarify this issue. Therefore, in this paper, concepts related to social justice (including factors such as educational equity, equality, and fairness) in education are explored first in the Japanese social and cultural context. Second, this paper concentrates on the relationship between social justice (including factors such as educational equity, equality, and fairness) and the capacity for self-development, and comprehensively analyzes Japan’s overall education system. Third, in the educational policies, Japanese ideas of realizing social justice and strategies for enhancing students’ capacity for individual self-development are clarified. Finally, relevant recommendations are provided in the conclusion.

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