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2014 February 12 - 18 [EDUCATION]

Create grant-type scholarship system at once: JCP Miyamoto

February 18, 2014
“Large corporations will enjoy a tax reduction of 800 billion yen thanks to the early end to the special corporate tax for reconstruction. The U.S. Forces in Japan annually get several hundred billion yen from Japan’s national treasury as a ‘sympathy budget’. Why can’t the government use only 8.4 billion yen for university students?”

By saying so, Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Miyamoto Takeshi demanded on February 17 that the administration take measures to relieve university students from high tuition fees.

In a House Budget Committee meeting, Miyamoto referred to the fact that the government agreed in September 2012 to the clause in the International Covenants on Human Rights which stipulates the staged establishment of a tuition-free higher education system. Among the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), however, Japan has remained the only country that has neither a free higher education system nor a full scholarship program.

Miyamoto noted that the amount in tuition to be paid to a national university in the first school year totals about 810,000 yen and that to be paid to a private university comes to around 1.31 million yen. The state’s continuous cuts in subsidies for national and private universities have caused such high tuitions, he stressed.

The JCP lawmaker also pointed out that with the increase in tuitions, the ratio of students who had to apply for student loans exceeded 50% in 2010 while it was about 20% in 1996. He revealed that a university graduate who received a student loan shoulders a debt of 3 million yen and that a graduate with a doctorate is saddled with a debt of 10 million yen. Miyamoto quoted a graduate as saying, “I can think of neither getting married nor having a child in the near future.”

The parliamentarian argued that a grant-type scholarship program for university students can be created by budgeting 8.4 billion yen for that purpose. Mentioning the fact that in the 2012 general election campaign the ruling Liberal Democratic Party pledged to launch that type of grant program, he urged the government to set up the program immediately.

Prime Minister Abe Shinzo replied, “I will consider it while making efforts to secure financial resources.”
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