COVID-19 and the Political Economy of the “September School Year Start” in Japan: Overlooked Victims and Foregone Revenues

Satoshi ARAKI*, Shinichi AIZAWA, Naoya OKAMOTO

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “September School Year Start” has become a central topic of discussion in Japan. While the pros and cons of changing a conventional academic calendar have been raised, two important aspects have been largely disregarded: foregone earnings of new graduates and relevant tax revenues. We therefore analyse national statistics on the number of new graduates as overlooked victims and their expected monthly wages in conjunction with tax payment, revealing that a September Start would force new graduates to give up approximately 715.7 billion yen, which leads to 87.6 billion yen foregone tax revenues for the government. This means both individuals and the society would lose a certain amount of financial resources by merely introducing a September Start. Considering other policy options are available should national budgets equivalent to foregone tax revenues be mobilised, it is essential for policy makers to examine cost-benefit of both a September Start and alternatives so that they make a sound decision. Although the primary focus of this article is on a September Start and its consequences, the said approach with close attention to scientific evidence rather than abstract notions is now required for the effective education policy-making and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

We gratefully acknowledge Takehiko Kariya and Takayasu Nakamura for their helpful comments.


  • COVID-19
  • September School Start
  • Political Economy
  • Foregone Earnings
  • Foregone Tax Revenues


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