Asia advances’ in THES/QS world rankings in 2009 Japan counts 11 institutions in the top 200, among them two new entrants: the University of Tsukuba sharing 174th place and Keio
University making an impressive debut at 142nd. Japan’s representatives in the top 100 rose in number from four to six, led by the University of Tokyo at 22nd place (down from
Philip Altbach…says several factors are behind the surges by Asian institutions. These countries have invested heavily in higher education in recent years, and this is reflected in the improved quality in their top
institutions,” he says. “They have also attempted to internationalise their universities by hiring more faculty from overseas … this helps to
improve their visibility globally. and These universities have also stressed the importance of their professors publishing in international journals, which has no doubt
increased the visibility of their research. But he adds that this drive for internationalisation and success in global rankings may be “debatable in terms of good policy” for Asian
institutions. For example, he says, stressing the importance of publishing in international journals may “tilt research away from topics
relevant for national development”, and fostering the use of the English language “may have a negative impact on intellectual work in
the local language”.
Different dreams in the same bed
• In 1980s and 1990s
– Yasuo Nakasone (Prime Minister) declared the vision to make Japan a ‘sturdy cultural state’, and set up a plan to accept ‘100,000
international students by the end of 20 th Century’ in 1983 (realized in 2003)
– Akito Arima (President of the University of Tokyo) argued that international recognition of Japanese universities (or Tokyo U) is too
low..on the result of Gourman Report in the end of 1980s, and, made a campaign to raise public investment into (top) national universities as
‘coffins of the brains’.
– Asia Week set up Asian University Rankings, and Japanese universities occupied the distinguished positions: Shigehiko Hasumi (President of
Tokyo University) criticized and left the ranking when its position was top; Hiroyuki Abe (President of Tohoku University) welcomed when
ranked at the top after Tokyo University left.
– Under the neo‐liberalistic policy reforms in economic recession, the government started to sought the possibility of ‘privatization’ of
national universities, and tried to introduce performance assessment
– Akito Arima (Minister of Education) decided to ‘incorporate’ national universities to get ‘institutional autonomy’ for further development
– Toyama (Minister of Education) of Koizumi Cabinet set up a plan to foster around 30 world class universities (for concentration of limited
public resources???) in 2001.
– After the heated debate, the plan realized as selecting research units as ‘Center of Excellences in the 21 st Centuries , and
universities started to compete on the number of those COEs. (later replaced by more concentrated ‘Global COEs’.)
– All national universities were incorporated in 2004, and some top university presidents started to declare their ambition to be ‘ranked
up’ in newly started world rankings (partly for getting support from internal academic communities and from external societies and the
Ranks did not improve, mainly for the shaking status of Japan as a whole country
– Shinzo Abe (Prime Minister) set up Asian Gateway Initiative, and put ‘internationalization of HE’ as primary agenda to develop Japan as a leading country in 2006.
– Heizo Takenaka (former Minister of General Affairs of Koizumi Cabinet and a professor of Keio (private) University) argued that Tokyo University should be privatized because top ten universities in the world are dominated by private institutions)
– Liberal Democratic Party established a project team for improving ranking position of Japanese universities (partly
because of Takenaka argument, and partly as a result of lobbying by Ministry of Education and top national
universities) in 2007.
– Yasuo Fukuda (Prime Minister) set up ‘300,000 international students’ plan by 2020 in 2008.
– Global 30 (select around 30 key universities and support their internationalization) scheme started as a core project of 300,000 plan, but the government decided to limit the
number to around 12 in the first year because of the budgetary constraints in 2009, under Prime Minsiter Aso.
HOW TO SELECT ‘WORLD CLASS UNIVERSITIES’ UNDER THE ‘INTERNATIONALIZATION’ PLAN
Granting of 340 or more post‐graduate degrees (master or doctor) annually in the last three years (scored 1 to 5 based on performance);
Acquisition of 130 or more Grants in Aid from JSPS annually in the last three years (scored 1 to 5 based on performance);
Acceptance of 300 or more international students from more than four countries in 2008 (scored 1 to 5 based on performance);
Sending of 50 or more students abroad in 2008 under official student exchange agreements (scored 1 to 5 based on performance);
Employment of more than 45 international faculty members (scored 1 to 5 based on performance).
Participation in international university consortiums;
Having plans to establish at least one undergraduate and one post‐graduate degree program in English, in addition to the existing programs (assessed by number);
Establishment of offices abroad for recruiting students, and willingness to allow their usage by other Japanese universities (additional points are awarded for multiple fices in the difficult areas);
Having plans to realize a share of international students of 20% (and at least 10%), and a total number of international students more than 2,599 by 2020;
Plan to make the share of international faculty into 10% (at least 5%) by 2020