Education, as you know, is very important here. A post high school education it is out of reach for many people. School loans do not exist here and there are very few scholarships so parents pay 100% of a child's education. My friend Risa is putting one son through university and one son through medical school right now. She said most children will repay their parent's as soon as they are able. Parents consider this investment in their childs education to also be their retirement fund since they will most likely be paid back while in their 60's and 70's. One friend told me that she and her husband paid for her son to also get a masters and Ph.D. and then he became a teacher which meant he could never afford to pay her back.
Japanese people, for the most part, consider American Universities to be inferior. Quite a few Japanese people go to college in Canada. Tokyo University is the Harvard of Japan and very prestigious.