Japanese officials steamed by education minister’s rejection of new universities

JIJI

Aichi Prefecture and the city of Akita expressed their intention Monday to demand that education minister Makiko Tanaka retract her decision not to approve construction of new universities within their jurisdictions.

Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura said in Nagoya that he will visit Tanaka to try to convince her to approve the opening of a women’s university in Okazaki.

Tanaka announced last week she will not approve the establishment of three educational institutions in the coming academic year, including the women’s university.

Her decision overriding an advisory panel’s approval “oversteps the discretionary power of a minister,” Omura said. “The minister should retract her decision and apologize.”

Omura said Tanaka has ignored the efforts of the people involved. The decision comes from ignorance about local circumstances, he said.

Meanwhile, officials in Akita said Mayor Motomu Hozumi will visit the education ministry Wednesday to demand Tanaka approve the launch of an art university in the city.

Toyojiro Hida, who was to be president of the art school, will accompany Hozumi, the officials said.

The city held a meeting Monday to discuss whether it should continue construction of the university facilities. It is considering filing a complaint against Tanaka’s decision, the officials said.