On Dec. 22, the Central Council for Education submitted to the minister of education, culture, sports and science an advisory report titled "On an integrated reform of high school education, university education and university entrance examinations for connecting high school and university education in a way that would best suit the requirements of the new age." On the basis of the report, the education minister announced on Jan. 16 his "action plan to implement reform to link high school and university education."

My understanding is that the minister's plan, which is primarily related to reforming the system of screening university applicants, is aimed at making the Japanese university entrance examination system closer to the "global standard."

One unique feature in Japan's university entrance examination system is that great weight is placed on the entrance exams carried out by individual universities to screen applicants, unlike in many other countries where all applicants take the same unified nationwide exams and individual universities rarely implement their own entrance exams. Let me give some examples.