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When it comes to meeting the needs of children with disabilities, the contrast between Japan and the United States is jarring. Although both countries acknowledge that these children possess natural gifts, they have gone about nurturing their strengths in diametrically different ways.

In this regard, Japan is far ahead. The proliferation of after-school cram schools is evidence. The Child Welfare Act was revised in 2012 to enhance support for the 215,000 children who are presently known to have various kinds of disabilities. Through the use of social welfare grants, these programs promote the social skills children need to become productive members of society.

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