The education ministry on Thursday approved the creation of three new universities after its head, Makiko Tanaka, reversed her earlier opposition.

The ministry has notified the organizers of the envisioned institutions in Akita, Hokkaido and Aichi prefectures, paving the way for them to open next spring as originally planned, ministry officials said.

A week ago, Tanaka ago expressed opposition to her advisory panel’s recommendation to approve the three schools, arguing the number of national universities is excessive and is lowering educational standards and graduates’ job prospects.

Coming under fire for her unusual rejection, Tanaka indicated Tuesday she planned to approve the three schools under new criteria and hinted at a further concession when the Lower House education subcommittee met Wednesday, saying, “I will make an appropriate response in line with the present system.”

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