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MEXT: What is it Good For?Taniguchi Tomohiko

Japan's education policy is in a perennial state of disarray. Education from kindergarten to graduate school is subject to constant tinkering reforms by the cumbersomely named Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, or MEXT for short. Each new intervention adds to the mountain of incomprehensible and counterintuitive regulations, and with each reform the quality of educati…
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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.
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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.”
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Higher Education and the Japanese DiseaseKariya Takehiko

In an age calling for an increasingly globalized workforce, there is widespread alarm about declining standards in the Japanese education sector. Where do the problems lie? Kariya Takehiko, a sociology professor who has taught at universities in Japan and England, analyzes the current situation.
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A Return to Basics for Japanese Education PolicyHayakawa Nobuo

Japanese education policy has often been compared to a pendulum, swinging back and forth between the two extremes of rote learning and a more relaxed, individualistic approach. Underlying this shifting personality are the vacillating priorities of the nation’s policymakers, who tend to respond to any hint of stagnation by treating education as the root of the problem, instigating educational refor…
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Education in Japan: The View from the ClassroomShirota Akihisa

Japanese schools in 2011 began the staged introduction of a series of new academic guidelines designed to improve basic academic skills. To learn more about the new guidelines and better grasp the current state of Japanese education we talked to Shirota Akihisa, the principal at Wada Junior High School in Suginami-ku, Tokyo—a school well known for its pioneering and innovative approach to education.
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