From my experience working in Japanese organizations, service prices in Japan can't go down mainly because of the embedded culture of intermediaries: everything, but absolutely everything, is done here through third-party enterprises that inflate costs with hidden handling fees and commissions. Tourism is one of the worst cases, since travel agencies charge tremendously for every little service they provide (and, once again, in my experience, don't even provide the high quality services they used to provide during the bubble economy). But, that is a practice rooted in a long tradition of maintaining business and inter-personal connections, so most Japanese cannot even see this as a problem and are bound to perpetuate it indefinitely. The foreigners who want to visit Japan don't have, as a result, any other choice than to literally pay the price.
13 ( +18 / -5 )
The problem is that Japan is hardly prepared for such an influx of foreign students. PM Abe is showing himself, once again, reckless in his desire for rapid "globalization" (or, at least, what he understands it to be) completely ignoring the true situation of Japanese universities: under-funded, grossly behind their Western-world counterparts in terms of research results, and writhed with faculty members who are in majority opposed to welcoming more international students (who can't speak Japanese as well as their Japanese classmates, and who will definitely challenge the authority of the professors in ways unheard of in Japan). Moreover, the idea that these students, once they graduate, will contribute to the strengthening of Japan's relations with their home countries is a pipe-dream, if major changes are not set in place. The overwhelming majority of foreign students in Japan today come from East and South-East Asian countries, and most are desperately poor, hoping not to return to their countries after graduation, but to get an economics, medicine or law degree and pursue lucrative careers in Japan. Until PM Abe's cabinet won't find a way to push for a true opening of Japanese universities to the world, that situation is bound not to change significantly.
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