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Kake Papers Leave Abe’s Office Alarmed over “Rebellion” (News)

Tokyo, June 24 (Jiji Press)--The recent leaks of Japanese education ministry internal documents related to the Kake Educational Institution has left Prime Minister Abe Shinzō's office alarmed over what may represent rebellious moves by some government officials. The papers sparked a public uproar, because some of them indicated Abe's wish to realize without a delay a plan by the school operator…

Opposition Hammers Claimed Abe Ties to Approved Operator of Dubious School

Scandal is swirling around Prime Minister Abe Shinzō as reports surface that he wielded influence through the cabinet organization to secure approval of a new veterinary school to be built in a specially designated strategic district in Ehime Prefecture. The proposed school would be operated by Kake Gakuen, an educational outfit in Okayama Prefecture headed by Kake Kōtarō, a personal friend of t…

Restructuring at National Universities: Implications for the Future of Higher LearningMatsuura Yoshimitsu

National universities are seeing a restructuring boom for the first time in decades, with many faculties being newly launched and others being reorganized. Two key concepts behind many of these moves—combining the humanities and sciences and contributing to the community—are responses to priorities set forth by the Ministry of Education. But could these changes jeopardize national universities’ presence as Japan’s highest institutions of learning? Matsuura Yoshimitsu, an expert in higher education, discusses the university reforms now underway and their implications.

University Entrance Examinations

For many young Japanese, university entrance examinations are the first big challenge of their lives. Every year, hundreds of thousands of students do their best to get the scores they need to be accepted by their chosen universities.

Universities Struggle to Cope with Shrinking Population and Globalization

Winter is the season of university entrance exams in Japan. It is a time of trepidation not only for the students but also for the universities, which today face the problem of population decline. Their survival hinges on their ability to attract students from a shrinking pool of young people while also meeting the challenges of globalization as institutions of higher education and research.

MOOCs: A Professor’s Reflections on Online Education

Massive open online courses have been on the rise in recent years, and in 2013 the University of Tokyo started its own MOOCs. These courses aim to provide widespread access to higher education via the Internet, but how effective are they in practice? We spoke to the university's Professor Fujiwara Kiichi to find out.

The True Benefits of Studying in JapanAlmoamen Abdalla

The noted nineteenth-century British scholar of Japan Basil Hall Chamberlain (1850–1935) commented in his 1902 work Things Japanese that in Japan there exists a “comparative social equality of all ranks and stations . . . The rich not being blatant, the poor are not abject . . . A genuine spirit of equality pervades society.” That spirit can still be felt today. Reading these words, I am reminded…

The Prospects for Reform in Academic GovernanceUeyama Takahiro

Japanese universities are being called on to further reform their old-fashioned managerial style. What are the real barriers to academic reform? Keiō University Professor Ueyama Takahiro explores the question.

University of Tokyo Strives to Raise its Global ProfileEgawa Masako

The University of Tokyo (UTokyo) is consistently ranked among the world’s top universities. But far from resting on its laurels, UTokyo is doing its utmost to raise its global competitiveness. This article looks at some of its recent initiatives toward that end.

Japanese University Reforms and the Illusion of International CompetitivenessKariya Takehiko

There is a lot of talk about Japanese universities and the need to strengthen their international competitiveness. But without an understanding of the gap that exists between real and imagined competition, university reforms will have no real effect. Professor Kariya Takehiko of Oxford University discusses the blind spot in Japanese universities’ “globalization strategies.”

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