• Economics Professor, Nagasaki University

  • Nagasaki

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Regarding the April 26 editorial “The promise of higher education“: Among the developed countries, Japan is possibly the only one that ignores the higher education sector to the degree that it does. Universities are in pathetic condition, literally falling apart without repair or painting, even as the government spends enormous amounts to build roads and bridges for nonexistent traffic.

There is no money to buy computer software or books for the library. Students have to pay enormous amounts to study. In Europe it costs nothing for the students to study at university. In Britain, United States and Australia, it costs a nominal amount compared with Japan. This is the reason that student numbers at Japanese universities are falling — not because of demographic factors. Higher education costs are high when household income is falling or stagnant.

Investment in higher education is investment in the future development of technology and intellectual power of a country. If the government does not want every other Japanese adult to end up reading comic books rather than serious books or newspapers, it must act immediately to spend a fraction of the mindless expenditures on road and bridge construction on universities and public hospitals.

dipak basu

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