Foreign children suspected of missing school
According to an investigation by local newspaper Okinawa Times, there are a total of 136 foreign national children of compulsory education age in 11 municipalities on Okinawa who are not identified as attending a Japanese public school. There are a total of 413 foreign-registered school age children in the 41 municipalities of Okinawa.
The Okinawa Times investigation found that 37 children registered as foreigners, but not attending a public school, live in Ginowan, followed by 29 in Okinawa City, 20 in Kitanakagusuku and 16 in Naha. The investigation also found that the governments of eight out of the eleven municipalities, with the exception of Uruma City, Kin Town and Yomitan Village, have not investigated whether the foreign children are in Japanese schools.
Investigators point out that some of the foreign children might be home schooled, or some may go to school on bases, or already have moved elsewhere without changing their residence registry. However, there is a concern that some of them could be unable to go to school for a variety of reasons, including mental, physical or family problems.
Each municipal government usually sends a school attendance notice for targeted children regardless of nationality based on the Basic Resident Register. But most local governments have not pursued the children even when they do not respond to the notice, as, unlike Japanese children, there is no legal obligation of the compulsory education for them.