- Education and Sports
Action 53. Expand and Strengthen the Foundation of Sports Ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Turn Japan into a “Sporting Powerhouse”
The holding of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games is sure to invigorate the sporting world in Japan in the future. Not only do sports make people healthier and allow them to experience emotion, they also benefit the nation directly through job creation in related industries and in foreign diplomacy and international exchange. The issue is how to ensure that the Games do not end with the closing ceremonies, but ensure that even after they are over and sports in Japan continue to be rejuvenated.
The world is in an era of Schumpetarian competition. With its population declining, Japan’s survival hinges on innovations to increase added value. It goes without saying that the source of innovation is people. Japan’s rapid economic growth in the wake of World War II was achieved thanks to innovators such as Honda’s Soichiro Honda and Sony’s Masaru Ibuka. It is therefore essential to nurture innovators from a long-term perspective.
In Japan, the skills of working adults are normally improved through OJT, for example. Compared with other advanced countries, the proportion of working adults making use of institutions of higher education such as universities and graduate schools is extremely small. The potential demand for graduate schools that offer practical education to working adults is large. The number of graduate schools providing opportunities for professional education in various fields needs to be increased, and doing so would also help make Japan more competitive.
Action 50. Internationalize Japan! Double the Number of Japanese Studying Overseas and Introduce Bilingual Education and Spring & Fall Admission at Universities
Whereas the number of students from countries such as China, India, South Korea studying overseas is on the rise, the number of Japanese students studying abroad has been declining (from 83,000 in 2004 to 60,000 in 2012). The number of international students coming to Japan from overseas is also small. Japan also ranks very low, 28th place, in the national rankings of TOEFL scores for countries in Asia. To make Japan grow, increasing its global human resources will be vital, and a national strategy should be formulated and implemented to achieve that.
Action 49. Utilize IT in Education to Nurture Japanese Citizens with Strong Communication and Creative Abilities
The city of Takeo in Saga prefecture, which is the first municipality to outsource the management of city libraries to the private sector, having awarded the contract to Tsutaya, is also enthusiastic about deploying IT in education. All elementary and middle school students are given a tablet device such as an iPad, on which are installed apps for drilling and testing and an app that works in conjunction with the blackboard. The utilization of IT in education transforms and expands the types of education that can be provided in schools. We hope this initiative spreads nationwide to improve the quality of education.
Action 48. Scrap Boards of Education, Give Principals More Authority, and Reform University Entrance Examinations
With the aim of receiving the best higher education in the world, each year 700,000 students from around the world go to the U.S. to study. But even in the U.S., education reform has been regarded the top priority for the government. The principle of competition has been introduced at public schools, and poor performing schools are closed down. In addition, teachers with low levels of ability are dismissed and schools are allowed to offer attractive packages to top-flight teaching personnel. If the world’s leading education country is enthusiastically reforming its education system, then Japan’s education reforms will need to go even further.
Action 47. Reform University Management—Abolish Elections for University Presidents, Reduce the Power of Faculty Meetings, and Stimulate Metabolism
Only two Japanese universities, the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University, are in the World University Rankings, which is published each year in Times Higher Education, a British newspaper supplement. In the 2015 rankings, the positions of the two Japanese universities fell sharply. The University of Tokyo slipped from 23rd to 43rd place, while Kyoto University dropped from 59th to 88th place. The principle of competition should be introduced at universities to make them stronger, and they should aim to become the world’s number one in fields in which Japan is strong.