Regarding the Sept. 25 article “20% of college dropouts cite financial difficulties as reason“: It’s a sad state of affairs when Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has fun globe-trotting and lauding himself over what he claims are his great economic achievements while the reality at home becomes more desperate.

Japan has been a rapidly aging society for over 30 years with a resultant decline in the birthrate, shrinking school population and an eroding desire to do anything meaningful about it. So the facts that there are now too many schools, too few young people and too little effective governing to help students are becoming harder and harder to hide or deny.

I remember growing up in a working class family in Europe with parents too old to work by the time I was eligible for high school. If it hadn’t been for the generous private and public grants available at the time, I could never have gone on to tertiary education even though I had to live in a squat and didn’t have enough money for university textbooks.

I pity Japan’s younger generation when their government falsely boasts about its economic performance while sweeping the plight of many young Japanese under the tatami.

The education ministry’s assessment (“the economic downturn and a growing income gap”) and its plans (“to introduce interest-free scholarships and offer more flexible ways of paying back scholarships”) are testament to its lack of farsightedness. The plans are too little and too late anyway for those who have already dropped out. Wasted lives and talents.

It’s unlikely that [ministry bureaucrats] will lose their bonuses or pensions, no matter how many young people fall by the wayside today. What encouragement is there for young married couples to have children when the future seems so bleak unless you were already filthy rich before “Abenomics” pulled the carpet out from under the public’s feet?

Even those who can pay their school fees must wonder whether it’s worth it. The skyrocketing costs of living drive more and more people to desperate and nihilistic alternatives, and the prospect of more Japanese students studying abroad with a declining yen becomes more remote every day.

david john
chikushino, fukuoka

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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