Declining youth cohort a threat to Japanese private institutions

November 2, 2009

With the number of 18-year-olds on the decline in Japan, the enrolment crisis at the country's private universities has reached "ridiculous" proportions. Government figures show 47% of Japan's 550 private 4-year universities are falling below their government-set recruitment targets, and more than 40% are reportedly in debt. Worst-case scenarios predict that a third of the country's private universities could go bankrupt or merge within the next decade. Japan has so far taken a laissez-faire approach to the matter by refusing to either rescue troubled institutions or shut them down. Some in Japan's private-university sector blame the enrolment crisis on free-market fundamentalism. The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)