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Wednesday, 6th March 2013
In General Japan News,

League table suggests Japanese universities are slipping

Students at the University of Tokyo will no doubt be pleased to hear that the institution has topped a list of higher education institutions in Asia.

However, when viewed as part of the bigger, global picture, the college is not doing so well.

According to the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings, the University of Tokyo has fallen one place since 2012 to ninth place. It was listed in the eighth spot in both 2011 and 2012.

The top five places are taken up by American and British universities with Harvard University grabbing the number one spot.

While the University of Tokyo only managed to get the ninth position it is the highest ranking institution with the exception of the US and the UK.

There are just five countries represented in the top 20 universities, which include the US, UK, Japan, Canada and Switzerland.

Some 100 colleges make up the list and Kyoto University is just outside the top 20 at 23rd on the list. This is not great news when compared to its ranking of 20th in 2012 and 18th in 2011.

Osaka University made it into 51st position, tied with nine other institutions, while Tohoku University and the Tokyo Institute of Technology both made it into a share of 61st position on the list. This makes them the lowest ranking Japanese institutions on the list.

The Japan Times quoted Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education Rankings, as saying "there is evidence that Japan is losing ground. Tokyo has slipped one place, and the universities of Kyoto, Tohoku and the Tokyo Institute of Technology have also fallen.

"The country’s government has acknowledged that Japan step up its efforts to attract more overseas academics and students and internationalize its research, but the latest ranking shows that more needs to be done."

Mr Baty suggested that Japan has been relying on its previous reputation and he said that "strong action is needed to protect [the country] from falling behind Asian rivals".

Written by Graham McPherson

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