On June 8, all presidents of national universities received a notice from the education minister telling them to either abolish their undergraduate departments and graduate schools devoted to the humanities and social sciences or shift their curricula to fields with greater utilitarian values.

The bad tradition of evaluating academic learning and sciences in terms of their utility, with private-sector enterprises meddling in higher education, is still alive in Japan.

Indeed, policies related to higher education are under the control of the Council on Industrial Competitiveness, which is made up of nine Cabinet ministers, seven corporate managers and two scholars. One of the scholars is from the field of engineering while the other comes from economics.