Among the 34 nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Japan has always been among the bottom three when it comes to public spending on education as a percentage of GDP. In 2011, Japan was the worst at 3.8 percent, followed by Slovakia and Italy — against the OECD average of 5.6 percent. Countries that come on top in this category are Denmark, Norway and New Zealand.

Of course, to be fair, the ratio of student numbers to the total population needs to be considered with respect to this data. Japan, in fact, has the second-lowest ratio at 15.5 percent, sitting between Chile, the lowest, and Italy. The OECD average is 22.2 percent.

Looking at the ratio of spending on education to total general government spending, the OECD average is 12.9 percent. Again Japan ranks low, coming in second to last at 9.1 percent, just above Italy at 8.6 percent. At the top is New Zealand with 21.6 percent.