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Support for families

Researchers coming to Japan with their families face a unique set of challenges. RIKEN provides support for these families through programs such as help desk services, daycare facilities, and special employment provisions.

Pregnancy and Childbirth

Japan may be one of the best places in the world to have a baby. Prenatal and postnatal care is excellent and there are many special provisions for the care of expectant mothers and infants.

A handbook on pregnancy and childbirth in Japan with detailed information on the health care services is available. Employees can take advantage of special subsidies provided by the national health insurance program and local municipalities for childbirth and infant health care. RIKEN also provides special employment provisions for pregnant staff and spouses, as well as for those taking care of small children.

Schooling in Japan

The Japanese educational system is a 6-3-3-4 system (6 years of elementary school, 3 junior high school, 3 senior high school and 4 university). School year begins in April and ends in March. The compulsory education time period is 9 years (6 years of elementary school and 3 junior high school). There are summer, winter and spring vacation periods of varying lengths. All educational institutions at all levels are administered by national, prefectural and municipal governments, as well as by private institutions.

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The RIKEN Wako, Yokohama and Kobe campuses have on-campus daycare facilities for infants and pre-school children that are operated by professional childcare service providers.

There are also public and private childcare facilities that will take care of small children while their parents work, as well as kindergartens, not far from all RIKEN campuses.


Compulsory education in Japan is for 9 years, from age 6 through 14, and is open to all children regardless of nationality. While most Japanese schools do not have dedicated staff on hand to take care of foreign students, some effort is generally made to help foreign students adapt, and RIKEN help desk staff will also provide language support for parent-teacher meetings and the like.

There are international schools in the major urban areas of Tokyo, Yokohama and Kobe. It should be noted that they tend to be expensive and may involve long commutes by train or bus.