The aim of this article is to review the literature on adult education for people with intellectual disabilities in Japan. The review also aims to compare adult education in Japan with that of other countries and to explore its issues. It was concluded that the Japanese government established a formal education system for secondary students with disabilities but that few welfare facilities, post-secondary institutions, or adult education facilities have initiated adult education for people with intellectual disabilities. The main strategy used to identify relevant literature was a search in CiNii for scientific articles, using the following combination of keywords: “lifelong learning” OR “social education” AND “people with disabilities.” The search produced 338 publications. After examining effective literature, these studies showed that adult education for people with intellectual disabilities altered their educational concept and expanded it, a process influenced by the development of domestic special education and changes in international views on human rights, including normalization. Adult education began as alternative education for people with disabilities exempted from compulsory education. The reviewed studies showed that adult education centers became widely established, influenced by the heightened awareness of human rights in the world. This review shows that adult education for people with intellectual disabilities has enabled them to develop and expand their activities. Moreover, the few studies that have been conducted offer useful insights into the effects of adult education on individual lifestyles.
Ayame Suzuki, Fuji Special School, Japan