Column  Finance and the Social Security System  2021.10.11

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.334:The COVID-19 pandemic is doing a lot of damage to education

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison

Tax/Social Security Healthcare

With the advent of the highly infectious delta variant, clusters of COVID-19 infections have emerged in kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools. According to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the number of newly infected children and students have more than tripled between July and August 2021 (increasing from 5,186 to 17,734 in this period) (Figure 1). The main infection route was detected to be at home (Figure 2).

The impact of COVID-19 on universities is also serious. University students that have been enrolled since April 2020 are still mainly taking online classes. Additionally, club activities are restricted, making it increasingly challenging for them to establish relationships. University students who are set to graduate in March 2022 are worried that they will do so without receiving sufficient higher education. Some overseas universities oblige their staff and students to vaccinate, and then carry out regular PCR tests to facilitate the transition towards the new normal. However, according to a notice issued by the Ministry to the universities on September 30, 2021, it is not yet mandatory for university staff and students to be vaccinated in Japan.

Figure 1: The number of children and students infected with COVID-19


Source: The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Figure 2: Routes in which children and students were infected with COVID-19


Source: The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology