The period between high school and higher education is one of the most tumultuous and nerve-wracking in a young adult’s life, and that’s without the extra layer of dread added by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Teenagers all over the world are wondering how to take the next step in their lives, and the difficulty of attending classes in a safe and consistent manner is only compounding that anxiety.
Yuzuru Takeuchi, who was recently announced as the head of policy for Japan’s Komeito Party, suggested a motion to the government to help assuage those woes — at least, the financial ones.
Takeuchi proposed that the government foot the bill for a 28 billion yen motion to send a fixed 20,000 yen payment to around 1,260,000 prospective university students around the country. That figure includes both high school students in their final year of schooling as well as ronin students, those who failed their university entrance exams and are attempting to take them again.
The 20,000 yen payout would cover the cost of the examination entrance fee, which is a particular concern in the current climate of economic recession and low family finances. Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato responded to the suggestion by saying, “I’d like to discuss it with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology.”
The suggestion is especially interesting in how it alleges to cover ronin students. This initial proposal makes no mention of how deferred students will be deemed worthy of receiving the payout, or when any potential cut-offs would be. This sparked numerous joking comments online from older citizens who never attended university, claiming that they’d willingly make use of the payout.
“They should just make the examination free instead of handing out money. It costs money to distribute the payout, after all.”
“I count as a ronin, since I’m planning to attend college next year. Give me my 20,000 yen, please. No, really, though, I’d rather you gave 100,000 yen out to every citizen and made sure to reduce the consumption tax to zero.”
“Once third-year high school students pass their 18th birthday, they can vote. I see right through this.”
Financial motions like this can be tricky to pass in government. Whether Kato’s discussions go well or not could decide the future of the proposed payout, but until then, students will have to think up other ways to fund their entrance examination fees.
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