"The system of early childhood education in Japan is quite extensive," writes Susan D. Halloway in the Early Childhood Research & Practice journal. "Over 90 percent of Japanese children attend at least two years of a youchien (licensed preschool) or hoikuen (child care center). Public preschools are funded by state and local governments (with some tuition contributed by parents), but approximately 80 percent of children attend private preschools, some of which are affiliated with a religious organization."
All preschools programs are evaluated by the national government, which dictates the size, facilities, and teacher qualifications. Many of these schools are deeply influenced by Japan's rich religious beliefs: Christianity, Buddhism, and Shinto. These philosophies play large roles in how individual preschools are run.