Some parents opt to immerse their children at a young age in a multilingual environment, hoping they will become not only bilingual but also have new avenues of opportunity open up.

While being in a foreign educational setting has merits for kids, how to teach them their mother tongue and dealing with identity issues are some of the challenges they could face, parents say.

Tokyo residents Yusuke and Maho Sasada, both 43, decided to put their children into an international school instead of a local elementary school. The family, which now lives in Kodaira, spent four years in New Jersey, where Yusuke was assigned by his shipping firm. Their three children, Mayu, 10, Taichi, 8, and Fuyu, 6, became fluent in English while attending local schools. Today, the two eldest children attend Tokyo West International School in Hachioji, while the youngest attends Kunitachi Kids International, a kindergarten in Tachikawa.