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HOME  > Past issues  > 2010 June 30 - July 6  > Koike talks with Tokyo University president regarding budget cuts
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2010 June 30 - July 6 [EDUCATION]

Koike talks with Tokyo University president regarding budget cuts

July 30, 2010
Japanese Communist Party Policy Commission Chair Koike Akira on July 29 visited the University of Tokyo to meet President Hamada Jun’ichi and exchanged opinions on ways to solve a crisis that may soon hit national universities.

This was part of a series of meetings between JCP representatives and presidents of former state-run universities, currently national university corporations.

President Hamada expressed his concern that the government in its budgetary request guidelines may implement a 10-percent cut in the national university budget.

He said, “The government has already significantly reduced the university budget. An additional cutback of 10 percent will deal a heavy blow to eight faculties and graduate schools at Tokyo University, including the faculty of law and faculty of medicine.”

Maeda Masafumi, vice president of the University of Tokyo, also criticized the government’s budget-slashing attempt by saying, “Countries in Europe, the United States, and Asia are strategically increasing university budgets over the long term. Only Japan is on a downward trend in regard to the budget. Japan will experience a brain drain to China and South Korea.”

The Japan Association of National Universities’ Tokyo Branch, consisting of 12 national universities in Tokyo, on July 26 published a joint statement calling for the exclusion of universities from the government budget slashing effort.

The statement points out that a 10-percent cut in the budget “will destroy not only national universities but also the entire university system of Japan and will have a devastating effect on the educational foundation of Japan, including at primary and secondary schools, as well as the science and technology foundation of Japan in the future.”

A 10-percent cut will affect, for example, as follows: the functions of medical and engineering faculties will be ceased (Gunma Univ.); 17 faculties and graduate schools will disappear (Hokkaido Univ.); the Sapporo Campus will have to be sold (Hokkaido Univ. of Education); 139 regular professors will be unpaid (Shinshu Univ.), 134 nurses of medical school hospital will be unpaid and the functions as the regional center hospital providing advance treatment will collapse (Kagawa Univ.), tuition fees for undergraduate students will be increased by 100,000 yen (Iwate Univ.), and 192 school hospital nurses and 148 regular university staff will lose their positions (Ryukyu Univ.).

In the first place, public spending on higher education in Japan has been the lowest among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member nations. In addition to this, the government has cut the state subsidies to national universities by 83 billion yen over the past six years under the structural reform policy, causing all the universities to face financial problems while attempting to carry on with existing academic programs.
- Akahata, July 30, 2010

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