Japan’s Quest for Global Competitiveness: An Evaluative Study of Shinzo Abe’s Policies on National Universities

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


Access to higher education and improved educational outcomes are important components of soft power. These achievements allow nation states to compete with each other politically and economically in the international arena. Since the collapse of the bubble economy in the 1990s, Japan has been experiencing a prolonged economic stagnation. With the determination to resurrect Japan from the lost decades and restore the country’s competitiveness, the grand plan of Abenomics was introduced. Combined with a set of higher education policies, Shinzo Abe’s desire was to return Japan to its place as a global influence. This study examines and evaluates Shinzo Abe’s higher education policies, with a focus on the two major national university schemes, the Top Global University Project and the Designated National University Corporation System, in enhancing Japan’s competitiveness through document analysis from 2012 to 2020 based on the three-dimensional model. This study finds that while the global rankings of the government selected national universities clearly are not what Shinzo Abe had envisioned, the progress of internationalisation, as well as the performance of these universities are visible from their annual reports and Japan University Ranking. This paper also discusses the potential challenges of policy continuity in Japan’s higher education in the post-Abe era.
Period12 Mar 2022
Event titleSymposium on Internationalisation and Quality Management in Higher Education 2022
Event typeSymposium