Education Minister Makiko Tanaka has reversed her decision to refuse official status to three new universities.
Tanaka stunned the education world last Friday when she refused to grant official status to an arts college in Akita, a medical school in Sapporo and a women's university in Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture. The three institutions had already been given the green light by a ministry screening council and were already accepting enrollments.
Tanaka said that Japan had too many universities, many of which were financially struggling because they couldn't attract enough students. She also said that she wanted to change the procedures for screening and approving new universities.
Tanaka met Wednesday with officials from the three institutions, and then announced the reversal of her decision at a meeting of a lower house education subcommittee, Fuji TV reported. Tanaka said she had been misunderstood and that she meant to say she would review the decision based on the current requirements for new academic institutions, which the three new universities met.
The board chairman of the proposed Sapporo medical school told reporters, "This will be a huge relief to the students. However, this has been a bitter experience for us, so I can't have total confidence in her decision."© Japan Today