Japan is on the way to radical deregulation of the compulsory education system in hopes of bringing more diversification and competition to schools, but it will take a delicate balancing act.

The government of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has decided to allow, as an experiment, profit-seeking companies to run elementary and junior high schools. Some local governments, meanwhile, have allowed parents to choose the public school their children attend.

These moves can help diversify the uniform education system and motivate schools to offer more attractive programs, say supporters, especially from business circles.