Learning the Chinese characters called kanji is so much fun for some people that it has become a fad. Interest in kanji can be gauged by the number of people who take kanji aptitude tests. In fiscal 2007, some 2.7 million people, age 3 to 97, took the tests known as kanken (literary kanji certification), offered by the Kyoto-based Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. This entity also holds the annual “Kanji of the Year” event at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the ancient capital.

The education ministry targeted the foundation in a raid last month because it was suspected of having accumulated excessive profits. Since the foundation is a public-interest corporation, it is not allowed to generate profits greater than that needed to properly carry out its operations. Its violation of this rule is regrettable.

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