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EDUCATION > Universities

Gov’t panel mulls limiting new universities in Tokyo

  • February 6, 2017
  • , Kyodo News , 8:22 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO, Feb. 6, Kyodo — A government advisory panel on Monday began considering limiting the establishment of new universities and departments in Tokyo as part of measures to alleviate concentration of students in the capital.


The panel is also expected to consider ways to stem the outflow of young people from regional areas, including measures to revitalize regional universities and create new jobs in such areas.


The panel, which consists of business people, politicians and a head of a university, is expected to issue an interim report around May before compiling a set of measures in the summer.


The panel launched the discussion as some people involved in academic activities at universities have voiced concerns that a curb on the establishment of universities would restrict academic freedom.


The education ministry’s data as of May 2016 shows that among 777 public and private universities across the country, 137, or 17.6 percent, are located in Tokyo with 746,397 students, or 26 percent.


According to a research paper released in October by major academic publisher Obunsha Co., 37 of the 47 prefectures in Japan recorded a net outflow of high school graduates as they enter universities in two metropolitan areas centering Tokyo and Osaka.


Kozo Yamamoto, the minister for regional revitalization, said that the government will “consider urgent and drastic measures to prevent excessive concentration” of youngsters flocking into Tokyo for higher education and job hunting.


Late last year, the Cabinet approved a strategy to tackle Japan’s declining population, which included the goal of generating 300,000 jobs for young people in rural areas by 2020 and trimming relocation to Tokyo and the three prefectures.

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