When the closure of a Tokyo international preschool made headlines last month, the incident put the spotlight on whether international schools deliver what they promise, particularly in light of their often lofty tuition fees.

Earlier this year, the building of the Chateau School in Tokyo's Minato Ward was suddenly shuttered and the school went on a hiatus, leaving parents with not only the need to find a new school or other extracurricular activities to fill their children's time, but also little chance of achieving a tuition refund without pursuing legal action themselves.

The reality is that many child care facilities and schools in Japan don’t need specific governmental authorization to operate or to use “international” in their names — as was the case with the Chateau School before its hiatus — and some of these might not have the international accreditation that is used to convey an institution's high standards and commitments to families.