The number of non-Japanese children at public schools who are lacking in Japanese language skills and who need remedial lessons hit a record 34,335 as of May last year, the latest survey by the education ministry showed Tuesday.

The number, up 17.6 percent from the previous biennial survey conducted in 2014, accounted for 42.9 percent of the 80,119 non-Japanese children at public elementary schools, high schools and other public facilities across the country, according to the survey.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology conducted the survey covering about 35,000 public schools. The survey looks at children who cannot hold simple daily conversations in Japanese and/or those who have difficulty learning at school due to poor secondary language skills.