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Tuesday, 28th May 2013
In General Japan News,

Bad results equal no loan in Japan

Following news that an increasing number of students in Japan are unable to repay their student loans, the Japan Student Services Organisation (JSSO) has issued restrictions on financial assistance.

Under the new regulations, approximately 600 students who were deemed to have poor academic performance last year will no longer be eligible for money to help them study.

In order to continue to receive loans, students have to reapply at the beginning of each school year. They must inform the university they are attending what their financial situation is and make a pledge to pay their loan back in full.

Universities in Japan now have a choice over whether to disqualify a pupil from receiving loans permanently or on a temporary basis subject to their grades improving.

Speaking in an interview with The Japan Times, Yoshiyuki Maehata chief spokesman for the JSSO said: "We would like once again to remind those receiving loans that the primary objective of our programme is to help them stick with their academic enthusiasm. So we want them to study hard until they graduate."

According to data issued by JASSO from 2011, of the 6.9 million students in high school, graduate institutions and universities in Japan, some 1.29 million had taken out a student loan.

Of those pupils, some 330,000 had not repaid their debts so it is clear that the issue of debts is one that has been around for a while at higher education institutes across Japan.

Education minister Hakubun Shimomura recently suggested that the standards achieved by universities in Japan could be improved by collaborating with colleges overseas.

"We would like to see many world-class universities from Japan by implementing the measures in these proposals," he said.

An education panel has suggested that by setting up programmes with top universities from around the world, Japanese higher education institutions will fare better.

The Times Higher Education supplement's World University Rankings place two Japanese universities within the top 100 in the world. The panel hopes that by encouraging co-operation with colleges from outside the country it can increase this number to more than ten.

The University of Tokyo is currently at number 27 and is the only college outside of the UK and US to feature this highly in the list.