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文部科学省は、病気などの理由以外、1年に30日以上学校を休んだ子どもが、2016年度に13万4398人いたと発表しました。
The Ministry of Education announced that there were 134398 children in the 2016 school year who had more than 30 days of absence for reasons other than illness.

The meaning is clear (I think) but the で after 以外 is confusing me. I'm familiar with two uses of 以外:

  1. A以外のB = B other than A
  2. A以外に... = Besides A ...

What is the function of で in this sentence? How would the meaning change if I replaced で with に?

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「文部科学省{もんぶかがくしょう}は、病気{びょうき}などの理由以外{りゆういがい}、1年{ねん}に30日以上学校{にちいじょう}を休{やす}んだ子{こ}どもが、2016年度{ねんど}に13万{まん}4398人{にん}いたと発表{はっぴょう}しました。」

In this particular context, only 「理由以外」 would be correct and natural-sounding.

The sentence states what happened for the reasons other than illness. In other words, 「病気などの理由以外で」 modifies 「学校を休んだ」. It is of a reason-and-result type of structure.

If it said 「理由以外」 instead, the readers would expect that the enumeration and/or explanation of the other reasons would follow, which obviously is not the case here. Interestingly enough, though, you yourself stated:

  1. A以外に... = Besides A ...

which is correct. One would expect an enumeration to follow that.

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で is used simply because で is the normal particle you should use after 理由 when you want to adverbially say "for ~'s reason". 理由に is acceptable only when used in the ~を~に pattern. Here 以外 does nothing about the particle choice; it can reverse the meaning without changing the particle choice.

  • 病気が理由学校を休んだ。
  • 病気以外が理由学校を休んだ。
  • 病気などの理由学校を休んだ。
  • 病気などの理由以外学校を休んだ。
  • とある理由学校を休んだ。 (for a certain reason)
  • 信じられない理由学校を休んだ。 (for an unbelievable reason)
  • 病気理由学校を休んだ。
  • 病気以外理由学校を休んだ。

Other examples of using 以外 with arbitrary particles:

  • 私以外行きます。
  • この店以外買います。
  • 知っている人以外からの電話
  • デザート以外食べる。
  • 京都以外行きたい。

These sentence are still grammatical if you removed 以外 (of course the meaning will be reversed).

  • Thanks. Your first two examples confuse me though. Is this で really the particle で or is it the て-form of だ? I ask this because otherwise I'm confused about what が is marking the subject of. Secondly, I'm not as comfortable with 以外 as I'd like. I'm struggling with translating some of your second set of examples e.g. デザート以外を食べる. Does this have a clear meaning without context? Two ways I might try to translate it are: "I will eat everything but the desert (in this particular meal)", "In general I eat starters and main courses but I don't eat deserts". – user3856370 Oct 31 '17 at 16:13
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    @user3856370 Ah, you're right, で in 病気が理由で might be a copula! デザート以外を食べる can mean both, I think What I had in mind was the former. – naruto Oct 31 '17 at 17:58

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