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Beginning in September, Japanese will have the opportunity to take a University of Southern California business course in their homes — using the Internet and satellite TV.

Satellite broadcaster Business Breakthrough Inc. announced Monday it will offer the world’s first MBA program combining the Internet and communication satellite broadcasting.

Students will watch lectures on SKY PerfecTV! channel 757 and use the Internet to interact with their tutors. There will be strict checks on attendance, exams and homework.

Kenichi Ohmae, a renowned business consultant and president of Business Breakthrough, told a press conference that the program offers an opportunity for people to obtain a certification equal to a Master of Business Administration inexpensively and without leaving their current jobs. “In the past, only the very elite or those with rich parents could get MBAs,” Ohmae said.

The program will cost $5,000, one-fifth the annual tuition and living expenses at USC, Ohmae said.

After completing the first year of study, which requires about 5 hours of course time per week, students will have an option to spend their second year at USC’s Marshall School of Business in order to obtain an MBA, or continue studying at home in Japan.

Randolph Westerfield, dean of the Marshall School, said the new program’s standards are “world class” for students who have had some experience and success in the business field. “It is for the students who want more success,” Westerfield said.

The Japanese and U.S. governments are also paying close attention to the program.

Tomoji Sakai, senior specialist for education media at Japan’s Education Ministry, and Louise Crane, public affairs minister at the U.S. Embassy, said they are interested in the new technology and the educational opportunity it can bring.

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