Home > Hot topics
Ministry of Education
Higher Education Reform: A Tale of Unintended ConsequencesSuzuki Kan (Hiroshi)

At a time of tough fiscal constraints, Japan's universities are under mounting pressure to do more with less. Unfortunately, government reform initiatives to date have been anything but encouraging. Suzuki Kan, an aide to Japan’s education ministry, examines recent policy failures and new reform trends in relation to the formidable challenges facing Japanese universities in the twenty-first century.
(More)

Major Makeover for the University Entrance SystemIsoda Fumio

Japan’s university entrance exam system and high school education are on the verge of undergoing a large-scale reform. Factors driving the reform include changes in the university student selection process, wrought by the declining birthrate, and awareness that the current system is not doing enough to prepare students for a global world.
(More)

Japan’s History Textbook System: Creation, Screening, and SelectionMitani Hiroshi

The history textbooks used in Japanese schools have come under considerable criticism both within Japan and abroad. How are these texts actually created, screened, and selected for classroom use? Mitani Hiroshi, a professor at the University of Tokyo and author of history textbooks currently in use at junior high schools and high schools, explains how this process operates in practice.
(More)

The East Asian Textbook IssueKawashima Shin

Japan has repeatedly experienced friction with its neighbors, particularly China and South Korea, over the contents of its history textbooks. Kawashima Shin, a scholar specializing in Asian diplomatic history (and a member of the Nippon.com editorial committee), puts this sticky problem in historical perspective.
(More)

The Debate over Japan’s Academic DeclineNakai Kōichi

Toward the end of the 1990s attention focused on falling academic level of Japan’s students. The debate touched off at that time led to the conclusion that the relaxed education standards called yutori kyōiku were to blame. Now that new standards are being implemented to roll back the yutori reforms, the time has come to look back at the course this debate has taken over the years.
(More)

Declining Birthrate Changing Japan’s SchoolsHayakawa Nobuo

Schools in Japan, from elementary to high school level, are being closed at a rate of 400–500 schools per year. The major cause of this is the declining birthrate. Schools overflowing with children are a thing of the past and empty classrooms are increasingly conspicuous. Japan’s declining population is bringing deep change to its schools. The number of children in public elementary schools has…
(More)

University Reform and the New Basic Act on EducationYūki Akio

Yūki Akio, a civil service veteran with a scientific background, introduces the reform initiatives he has promoted since becoming president of a national university. He also discusses issues in elementary and secondary education, calling for a renewed focus on “education of the heart.”
(More)

Video highlights

New series

バナーエリア2
  • From our columnists
  • In the news