Higher Education Reform: Focusing on National University Reform

  • Akiko MorozumiEmail author
Part of the Education in the Asia-Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects book series (EDAP, volume 47)


At one time, there was a trend toward strong governmental control in higher education in Japan, even from an international perspective (Clark 1983). This approach attempted to ensure the best educational quality by limiting the number of universities, establishing minimum standards of adherence, and strictly applying “prior regulations.” However, although this governmental regulation ensured consistent quality, the policy was criticized as it was perceived to discourage individuality and the diversification of universities. Thus, in the 1990s, the government adopted a different approach by easing regulations to allow greater university autonomy. For example, in the 1991 Deregulation of University Act, universities were granted a greater degree of freedom in terms of educational content and curricula. Based on the Koizumi administration’s strong move toward structural reform of market principles and free competition, the policy of controlling new extensions to universities and departments was essentially annulled in 2003; instead, a policy was established that changed prior regulations to post-checks, and a third-party evaluation system was introduced.


  1. Clark, B. R. (1983). The higher education system: Academic organization in cross-national perspective. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  2. CNFUM (Center for National University Finance and Management). (2008). Japanese national university reform in 2004. Tokyo: CNFUM.
  3. Honda, S. (2013). Japan’s higher education incorporation policy: A comparative analysis of three stages of national university governance. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35(5), 537–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Kaneko, M. (2009). Incorporation of national universities in Japan: Design, implementation and consequences. Asia Pacific Education Review, 10(1), 59–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Kaneko, M. (2012). Evaluating incorporation of National Universities in Japan. In CNFUM (Ed.), Cycles of University Reform-2011. Tokyo: CNFUM.
  6. MEXT (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sport and Technology). (2010). Kokuritsudigaku houjinnkago no genjo to kadai nitsuite [Current status and challenges post-national university corporation] (in Japanese).Google Scholar
  7. Morozumi, A. (2015). Faculty participation in university decision making and Management in Japan. In J. C. Shin, G. A. Postiglione, & F. Huang (Eds.), Mass higher education development in East Asia-strategy, quality, and challenges (pp. 325–341). Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  8. National Institute for Educational Research. (2012). Daigaku no Zaimu-unei no arikata ni kansuru chousahoukokusho [Investigative research report into the ideals for university financial management]. Tokyo: National Institute for Educational Research (in Japanese).
  9. Oba, J. (2014). Reforming national universities in Japan. In M. Shattock (Ed.), International trends in university governance-autonomy—Self-government and the distribution of authority (pp. 107–124). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development). (2003). Changing patterns of governance in higher education. In OECD (Ed.), Education Policy Analysis. Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations