Researchers coming to Japan with their families face a unique set of challenges. RIKEN provides support and information such as community 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 staff at the time of having a baby, as well as for the care of small children.
Education 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.
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 basically do not have dedicated staff on hand to take care of foreign students, some effort is generally made to help foreign students adapt it may be possible to make language support arrangements for parent-teacher, and other school meetings and the like.
International schools are predominantly in the central 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.