In the Japanese education system, elementary and secondary schools are compulsory education. After finishing kindergarten, almost all Japanese kids attend elementary school for 6 years. Then, they continue studies at secondary school for another 3 years.
Some parents (especially, rich families) send their kids to international school. They expect their children will become bi- or multilingual and attend the world's top universities such as Harvard and Oxford. Nevertheless, such parents and kids are rare in Japan.
Unlike English-speaking countries, home education at compulsory education level is prohibited in Japan. However, every years thousands of school children drop out school. Some kids become apathetic about school life, other kids are bullied by classmates and even teachers.
Besides studies at school daytime, many children go to cram schools to prepare for high school and university admission exams.
Indeed, school life in Japan is extremely stressful for many children.... Sometimes, I receives e-mails from school pupils and their parents about human relations in school. In many cases, children are bullied by classmates or teachers. The trouble is that they cannot escape from such closed society.
When adults have trouble with human relations such as harassment and discrimination, they usually have several options to cope with the problem -asking the boss, consult a lawyer, take a legal action, change the job, move to a new place, etc. Adults can choose such action because they are living in an 'open' society.
I always point out that the Japanese school system should be more open to society while children's safety is priority. Being open means children can choose classes, teachers, friend, location, and others. It will reduce children's stress and enhance their motivation to learn.