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An open letter to education minister Tatsuo Kawabata with regard to the Oct. 9 article “Education chief takes liberal path“: Dear Sir, I heartily support your intention to make public high school in Japan free.

As one step toward reducing family costs at the high school level, I would like to draw to your attention that all public high schools in the greater Tokyo area have their entrance exams on the same day. This is a disaster for many students because if they make the mistake of challenging a better school and fail, their recourse is the private, fee-based schools that happily accept them. This is an unmitigated scam that the Tokyo public school system knowingly supports. Since private school placement interviews and tests are scheduled before those of public schools, many families are forced to pay entrance or pre-registration fees for private schools. If they don’t and their kid fails the later public high school entrance exams, then the family is out of luck.

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