October 12, 2006

Time to short Japanese universities

Japan's Student Shortage Forces Colleges to Recruit in China

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Yonosuke Fukuda succeeded his father as chancellor of Tohwa University, a private engineering college on Japan's Kyushu island, five years ago. He plans to close it down when the current crop of students graduates in 2009.

``There is no bright future'' for Japanese universities, said Fukuda, 38, who had 140 student applications for 160 slots this year. ``It's time to quit before things get even worse.''

Japan's 550 private universities are running out of students as the country's birthrate declines. About 40 percent of colleges failed to meet their enrollment targets this year and a quarter are in the red, according to the Education Ministry.

The shortage is forcing some colleges to recruit students from overseas, especially China, with its large population, proximity and linguistic similarities. Others are creating programs that appeal to the swelling ranks of retirees.


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