This year marks the 15th year since Japanese national universities were changed into institutions with corporate status. Earlier, in 1988, the British government under Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher converted national universities into "agencies," similar to the corporate status Japan would adopt.

Under the Thatcher scheme, national universities continue to receive subsidies from the government for their operation but are required to expand their own funds, reduce spending and improve the efficiency of education and research, so that the fruits of educational and research programs will be maximized within budgetary restrictions.

Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, who was a follower of market fundamentalism like Thatcher, fell into step and turned all Japanese national universities into agencies with corporate status.