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A record-high 222 private universities failed to reach their admissions targets this year, according to a recent survey by an educational lobby group.

The number is up by 62 from last year, underscoring the increasingly dire financial situation facing private universities, the Promotion and Mutual Aid Corp. for Private Schools in Japan said.

The survey covered nearly all private institutions of higher education, including 550 four-year universities.

Of the universities that failed to fill their admissions quotas, 62 did not reach even 70 percent of their target, up from 52 last year.

“With the declining birthrate fueling competition, universities are adding departments that meet the needs of the times, but they are not downsizing, for instance, by eliminating unpopular departments,” said an official of the corporation, alluding to management problems.

The number of applicants to private four-year universities peaked in the 1992 academic year at 4.43 million, including those who applied for admission to more than one school. For this academic year, the figure was 2.95 million.

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