Japan's reform efforts and policy changes are aimed at addressing several perceived problems in the system besides the simple lack of resources for university research and graduate education. Traditionally, research funding has been channeled from Monbusho to the universities through senior professors to their research groups, known as koza. This system has come under criticism because funding is not granted competitively, and because heavy reliance by junior faculty and graduate students on senior professors is seen as discouraging original approaches. The general Japanese practice, particularly at the national universities, of not hiring many faculty who have graduated from other universities is also believed to contribute to a lack of communication and cross-fertilization among academic researchers in Japan.

New programs have attempted to address these issues. For example, new policies are aimed at increasing the flow of industry funds to universities. Since 1995 agencies other than Monbusho, including the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Science and Technology Agency (STA) have been allowed to support university research. Monbusho, MITI, and STA have all established new funding programs that are awarded competitively. Finally, the number of post-doctoral fellowships have been increased to allow more young Japanese scientists and engineers to gain research experiences outside their home institutions, including abroad.


1 See Graduate Education section later in the chapter for a description of this system.

2 National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 1997 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1997). If only four-year public institutions are included, the average rises to $2,848. The average total cost of four-year public institutions including room and board was $7,014.

3 Ibid. If only four-year institutions are included, the average rises to $12,243. The average total cost of four-year private institutions including room and board was $17,612.

4 National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics 1997, 1997.

5 National Science Board, Science and Engineering Indicators 1996 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996).

6 From Monbusho.

7 National Science Foundation, The Science and Technology Resources of Japan: A Comparison with the United States, 1997.

8 William F. Finan and Jeffrey Frey, The Effectiveness of the Japanese Research-Development Commercialization Cycle: Engineering and Technology Transfer in Japan's Semiconductor Industry, Semiconductor Research Corporation, August 1989.

9 D. Eleanor Westney and Kiyonori Sakakibara, Comparative Study of the Training, Careers, and Organization of Engineers in the Computer Industry in Japan and the United States, MIT Japan Program, 1985.

10 Tanya Sienko, A Comparison of Japanese and U.S. Graduate Programs in Science and Engineering (Tokyo: National Institute of Science and Technology Policy, 1997).

11 Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, Reshaping the Graduate Education of Scientists and Engineers (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1995).

12 Detailed information on ABET is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.abet.org.

13 For example, COSEPUP, op. cit.; National Research Council, Engineering Education: Designing an Adaptive System (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1995); American Society for Engineering Education, Engineering Education for a Changing World, 1994; and Joseph Bordogna, “Making Connections: The Role of Engineers and Engineering Education,” The Bridge, Spring 1997.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement