Finance Ministry opposes free higher education for all students

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The Finance Ministry considers it inappropriate to make higher education in Japan free without exception, informed sources said.

The ministry now believes the proposed program, as part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s initiative to support child-rearing families and cut tuition to zero, should screen eligible institutions and students, the sources said.

Otherwise, Japan’s fiscal health, will deteriorate even further amid its ever-growing social security costs, they explained.

Also, the ministry cannot give the nod because any indiscriminate tuition-free program could end up becoming mere financial aid for private universities and colleges hit hard by the declining birthrate, the sources said.

The government needs to focus on measures to support low-income families, such as by expanding scholarships, the sources pointed out.

The ministry plans to present its recommendations at a meeting Tuesday of the Fiscal System Council, which advises the finance minister.


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