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
Nov 14
Japanese immigration authorities say 219 foreigners were staying in Japan as of the end of September after acquiring a new type of work visa for people with vocational skills. (NHK)
Nov 09
The Japanese Prime Minister has apologized for the postponement of the planned introduction of private-sector English tests for university admission. (NHK)
Nov 04
An Ainu indigenous rights association in Hokkaido has filed a lawsuit against the University of Tokyo, seeking the return of remains of their ancestors stored at the university. (Japan Times)
Nov 02
The government decided Friday to put off the planned introduction of private-sector English proficiency tests as part of Japan's standardized university entrance exams due to start next April, the education minister said, following his gaffe over the matter. (Japan Today)
Oct 26
The government will write family names first when using the Roman alphabet for Japanese names on official documents from Jan. 1, the education minister said Friday. (Japan Times)
Oct 26
A record 2,829,416 foreign people were registered as residents at the end of June as more and more technical interns and workers enter Japan amid a severe labor shortage, government data showed Friday. (Japan Times)
Oct 26
Japanese Bonsai Trees have been a part of Japanese culture for over 1000 years going back to the Heian Era. Today, we'll visit the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum 大宮盆栽美術館 in Saitama to see some amazing tree! One in particular is a 1000 year old Ezo Spruce that has a lot of personality. (ONLY in JAPAN)
Oct 24
Fukuoka Prefectural Police have arrested a staff member at a kindergarten in Munakata City over the alleged abuse of a male pupil earlier this year, reports Kyodo News (Oct. 21). (tokyoreporter.com)
Oct 24
The number of foreign students who changed their visa status to work in Japan after graduating from universities or vocational schools hit a record high in 2018, immigration authorities said Wednesday, amid a chronic manpower shortage in the nation. (Japan Times)
Oct 20
Bullying cases reported at schools across Japan totaled 543,933 in fiscal 2018, up 31.3 percent from a year earlier and the highest level on record, according to an education ministry survey released Thursday. (Japan Times)