Over the past several weeks I have received many emails from all over the world asking me if reports about government plans to pull the plug on humanities and social sciences departments at Japanese national universities are accurate or just a bad joke. At this point it’s not clear exactly what the government intends.

It is mind-boggling to these overseas observers that Japan would embrace ignorance as a recipe for nurturing educational excellence, the ostensible aim of a new reform initiative announced this past June. Overseas researchers are alarmed that this hollowing-out of higher education will adversely affect their research in Japan and stifle intellectual inquiry about subjects the rest of the world still holds in high esteem.


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