Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.

They wear knee socks, polished patent-leather shoes, and plaid jumpers, with wide-brimmed hats fastened under the chin and train passes pinned to their backpacks. The kids are as young as 6 or 7, on their way to and from school, and there is nary a guardian in sight.

I remember being able to bike to school in the morning when I was in Japan, and I’d always use that as one of my examples as to why I regard Japan as an ideal society.

...That’s not to say the Tokyo subway is risk-free. The persistent problem of women and girls being groped, for example, led to the introduction of women-only cars on select lines starting in 2000. Still, many city children continue to take the train to school and run errands in their neighborhood without close supervision.

On a related note, it’s rather peculiar that gender equality is where they’re trailing behind the rest of the world. I guess it might have to do with the aging population there making it difficult for the rest of society to let go of the traditional concept of gender roles. 

On the other hand, the Philippines ranks pretty far ahead of not just Japan but the rest of the world in terms of gender equality. So we got that going for us.