LONDON — After years of decline and stagnation, Japan’s universities have made “some solid progress” this year, according to an influential ranking of the world’s top universities released Wednesday.
The Times Higher Education World University Rankings shows the country’s two leading institutions both rising and 103 establishments now represented, up from 89 last year.
It is Japan’s largest presence ever and marks the second most-improved representation in this year’s table. Japan surpasses Britain as the second most-represented in the listing of 1,250 higher education institutions for the first time.
The University of Tokyo climbed four places to 42nd due to improvements in teaching and research. Kyoto University jumped nine places to 65th.
On Japan, Phil Baty, editorial director of the global rankings, said, “Following an extended period of decline, the nation sees some consolidation in this year’s table — with solid improvements from both its leading institutions, and some promising new entrants and risers.”
“While we see improvements this year, the majority of Japan’s institutions still decline or remain static, amid intensifying regional competition,” he added.
He said Japanese institutions still suffer from the effects of a national decline in population and increased competition for international students from other universities in the region. He called on Japan to increase investment in order to attract more overseas students.
Oxford University once again claimed first position while Cambridge University came second.
This year’s rankings show two Asian universities in the top 30. China’s Tsinghua University jumped eight spots to reach No. 22, surpassing Peking University, down four places to 31, and the National University of Singapore dropped one place from last year and came in at No. 23.
The United States still dominates the listings, now in its 15th year, but China’s ascent up the rankings continues.
“As China and other emerging nations position universities at the heart of national economic growth strategies, they could well challenge the continued Anglo-American dominance of the rankings in future years,” Baty said.