Japan is laying the groundwork for a free education programme for some households that will cover a student's costs from pre-school to college to ensure the country maintains a highly-skilled workforce.
The programme, still in its early stages, is expected to feature in the government's economic strategy due sometime around June, which is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic agenda, commonly called "Abenomics."
The government invited Joseph Stiglitz, an economist and a Nobel laureate, to speak at its top advisory panel on Tuesday about investing more in education by introducing universal access to a college education.
A ruling Liberal Democratic Party panel is also debating the scope of the plan and how to fund it, with an eye on helping low-income families.
"Stiglitz has many ideas that agree with some of the things that we are trying to do in the second stage of 'Abenomics,'" Abe said after the panel met.
Stiglitz also recommended that Japan raise salaries for workers in education and healthcare to draw more workers into the services sector, raise minimum wages, raise public-sector wages and increase productivity.
These are all policies that Abe has adopted recently, but some economists say the pace of improvement in wages has been too slow.
STREET FOOD! We're back for more in one of Japan's most traditional cities, Nara.
What was once Japan's capitol is now a place loaded with delicious street food for humans and deer alike. So, what's Nara got to offer? I hope you're hungry! (ONLY in JAPAN )
Japan's Liberal Democratic Party on Friday submitted a record of email exchanges in which Akie Abe, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's wife, denies her alleged payment of one million yen to an embattled school operator. (Jiji)
Japanese Defense Minister Tomomi Inada ordered the Ground Self-Defense Force on Friday to withdraw its engineering troops taking part in a U.N. peacekeeping mission in South Sudan by the end of May. (Jiji)
New textbooks authorized for use in Japan's senior high schools from April next year contain more descriptions on foreign and defense policies undertaken by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government, such as the ability to engage in collective self-defense, according to the results of the education ministry's latest textbook screening disclosed Friday. (Japan Today)