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Private universities are upping their efforts to create thriving campuses in central Tokyo, hoping this will draw more students as competition for survival intensifies amid the shrinking population.

The universities are focusing on their convenience for commuters while adding more features to their city campuses, such as information technology centers.

This marks a change from the 1980s, when universities were shifting campuses to the suburbs.

“If there are school buildings and halls in the metropolitan center, we can gather people not only for classes but also for lecturers,” a university official said.

Hosei University completed a new 27-story building at its Ichigaya campus in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward in March 2000. The new building is only a 10-minute walk from JR Iidabashi Station.

“The building is beautifully maintained and the environment is excellent for studying,” a 19-year-old female student said.

Meanwhile, a university official said, “The campus expansion has led to increases in applicants.”

The number of applications hit a record high in fiscal 2003, topping 93,000.

The migration of campuses to central Tokyo gained momentum in July, when a law restricting their construction was abolished.

Toyo University announced in late July that classes in literature and other departments would be moved from the city of Asaka, Saitama Prefecture, to its Hakusan campus in Tokyo’s Bunkyo Ward.

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