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Mariko Kato’s Oct. 9 article, “Education chief takes liberal path,” was encouraging. The Democratic Party of Japan has pledged to have the people’s wishes reflected in government policy. In higher education, ministry control of budgets and policies has spurred academic productivity, but there may be areas where colleges, by self-determination with a view to those they serve, could tailor their own policies more suitably.

Colleges have recently felt forced to lengthen the school year by as much as a month. The vast increases in utility, water, part-time teaching and staff expenses will exacerbate the current economic crisis faced by many private colleges. And parents and young people will be burdened when the higher overhead costs are inevitably passed on in tuition. The likely result will be less higher education overall, serving the more economically fortunate.

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