Soroban Education after the Meiji Era
In Meiji year 5,In 1872, the Japanese Government started its educational system. To catch up with western civilization they adopted western mathematics and abandoned "Wasan", or Japanese mathematics.
The soroban was regarded as one of the subjects in Wasan, thus they were going to eliminate it, but because of its well-spread use and popularity they did not.
The first Soroban School was founded in that same year. It was the very origin of those schools we have now.
Since Showa year 13, or 1938, the standardized soroban (one 5-bead row and four 1-bead rows) has became a subject of compulsory education.
Now all third and fourth graders are learning the soroban and the Ministry of Education says that it will be expanded in the future.