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Japan began to modernize its education system during the late 19th century by drawing upon models provided by the West but without having to experience the phenomenon of colonization. During the post-WWII period, its education system was restructured, under strong influence from the United States. Then, during the 1990s, there was further wide-ranging reform of the system. These three waves of change have enabled Japan’s education system to play a vital role in Japanese society, first through its contribution to the modernization of Japanese culture during the late 19th century, then by contributing to the high-speed pace of economic growth from the late 1950s, and recently by enabling Japan to become a rich and globally advanced nation.
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