Motohisa Kaneko - Tokyo University
Educational reform has always been a significant social issue in Japan as Japanese feel that a substantial part of their rapid economic development can be attributed to education. As Japan enters a new stage of development where the past pattern of development starts losing its effectiveness, educational reform has again assumed a critical importance. The education system contributed to economic growth in the past in the context of a unique structure of economy and society. That contribution, however, has begun to lose relevance as Japan succeeds in obtaining high standards of living. Changing values amongst the youth, coupled with the universalization of higher education, have resulted in a serious decline in motivation for learning. At the same time, the advent of global competition has created demand for high competence among the work force. The result is a serious sense of crisis in Japanese society. Discussion will center around previous models of the relationship between education and economics in Japan, reforms to the education system, responses to reform efforts in the contemporary setting, and recommendations for how Japan can deal with this crisis in the future.