The global decline of Japanese universities
Japan Times -- Jan 19
A glance at the World University Rankings, published last September by the Times Higher Education, reveals the following major changes in the rankings compared with the previous year.

Tsinghua University of China moved up to the 22nd position — the highest among institutions of higher education in Asia — surpassing the National University of Singapore, which was the top university in Asia for the previous five years but placed 23rd on the latest list. Ten Asian universities outside Japan — six in China (including Hong Kong), two in Singapore and two in South Korea — were among the global top 100.

As in the past, Japan had only two schools in that range: the University of Tokyo, placing 42nd; and Kyoto University, at 65th. While six Chinese, three South Korean and one Taiwanese universities were ranked between 100 and 200, no Japanese institutions were in that bracket.

The contrast is stark between the big strides made by Chinese universities and the poor performance of Japanese institutions. In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that he would make 10 Japanese universities rank in the global top 100 within 10 years. Abe placed reform of the nation’s university education system among the priorities in his economic growth strategy, and set the numerical target based on the World University Rankings.

Indeed, that goal appeared to be within reach at the time. In the rankings published in October 2013, five Japanese universities ranked among the world’s top 200 — the University of Tokyo placing 23rd, the highest among institutions in Asia, Kyoto University 52nd, the Tokyo Institute of Technology 125th, Osaka University 144th and Tohoku University 150th. In subsequent years, all of these institutions fell to lower rankings, leaving only two of them among the top 200 last year.

News source: Japan Times
Sep 19
The operator of a private-sector English proficiency test began accepting applications Wednesday for its tests that will serve as a component of Japan’s new standardized university entrance exam. (Japan Times)
Sep 16
A Japanese government survey shows the number of people aged 65 or older, and their proportion to the overall population, have both marked record highs. (NHK)
Sep 15
A survey shows that Japan's public spending on education as a percentage of GDP was the lowest among OECD countries. (NHK)
Sep 15
Almost 70 percent of married women in Japan believe that same-sex marriage should be legalized in the country, a government survey of around 6,000 married women showed Friday. (Kyodo)
Sep 12
Japan remains the second most-represented country behind the United States in a list of the world's top 1,400 universities, but trails other countries in hosting elite institutions with only two listed in the top 200, a global survey showed Wednesday. (Kyodo)
Sep 11
A private-sector survey showed Tuesday that 61.6 percent of freelancers in Japan have experienced work-related power harassment. (Japan Times)
Sep 10
A 15-year-old boy who had previously complained about being bullied at school has died in an apparent suicide after falling from a building in Saitama Prefecture, investigative sources said Monday. (Japan Today)
Sep 10
He sits in an office of a major Japanese sportswear maker but reports to no one. He is assigned odd tasks like translating into English the manual on company rules like policies on vacations and daily hours, though he has minimal foreign language skills. (Japan Today)
Sep 07
The number of children waiting to enter authorized day care facilities fell to a record low of 16,772 as of April 1, down 3,123 from the previous year, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Friday. (Japan Times)
Sep 06
It’s not an exaggeration to say many Japanese have a complex about speaking English. Most Japanese study English for three years in junior high school as a requirement, and those who graduate from university will have studied the language for 10 years. Yet many Japanese say they’re not good at speaking English. (Japan Times)