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Zengakuren convention calls for drastic increase in education budget

At its 60th Convention held in Tokyo on March 1-3, the All Japan Federation of Student Unions (Zengakuren) called for a campaign to demand a drastic increase in the government's budget for universities and colleges and a cut in students' burden of tuitions.

Oshima Yusuke, Zengakuren president, reported that the national student federation in 2008 published a booklet carrying the voices of 10,000 students throughout the country expressing their anxieties about rising tuition fees.

The "Black book on tuition fees and jobs" says that university students in their first year pay about 0.8 million yen for tuition at national universities and about 1.3 million yen at private universities.

It was also reported that a local network calling for lower tuition fees has been set up in Tokyo, Osaka, Chiba, and Hyogo prefectures after following the lead of Kyoto Prefecture in 2007.

The Kyoto Prefectural Federation of Student Unions held a meeting with about 200 students to demand a "zero tuition fee."

Citing recent examples of some national and private universities introducing a system of tuition reduction or exemption for some students who are in financially difficult positions, Oshima called for further efforts to reduce students' economic burdens and have the government increase the government budget for higher education.

He also stressed the need to establish rules that corporations must not cancel job offers to students.

A student union was re-established at the Faculty of Textile Science & Technology of Shinshu University in Nagano Prefecture after an interval of 20 years as well as at a newly opened faculty of Japan Welfare University in Aichi Prefecture.

The convention elected Koyama No as the new Zengakuren president.

- Akahata, March 4, 2009

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