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INTEGRATION OF LATIN-AMERICAN IMMIGRANTS INTO THE LOCAL EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN JAPAN

F. Alfaro Perez

Osaka University (JAPAN)
Since the revision of Japan’s immigration law in 1990, the Latin American immigrant population (mostly of Japanese descent) has grown rapidly, and it is well documented that foreign residents and their children have been facing a number of problems due to differences in language, culture and customs.
The objective of this paper is to investigate the school, individual and family factors that influence the integration of this immigrant population’s into the Japanese school system. This is a qualitative study and the author used in-depth interviews with school staff members, Latin American students and parents to gather information. Participatory observation was also used in classes attended by Latin American students. This study was conducted at a local junior high school with first to third grade students of an urban area in Aichi Prefecture, one of the densely populated prefectures by Latin-American immigrants.
The interview guide was prepared for three groups: School staff, Latin American students and parents and was analyzed from three aspects: Student’s educational aspects, language ability and relationship and communication among them. Additional questions were included for school staff on multicultural education, and for students and parents questions on expectations for future.
This research implies two points: The first one is that still there is an absolute lack of information about the Japanese educational system for Latin-American parents despite efforts of Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and, the second one is that a formal study support program is crucial at any middle school level for the integration of Latin-American students.