Japan’s universities turn to hospitals for financial pain relief

This graph shows that Japan’s top-ranked universities now rely on their hospitals for about 40 per cent of their income as they struggle with deep cuts in government spending.

January 5, 2017
Japan’s universities turn to hospitals for financial pain relief (5 January 2017)
Source: Center for National University Finance and Management (2001) and MEXT (2015) On the Actual Situation of National University Corporations
Note: Public expenditure includes operating budget, competitive research grants and others

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Since 2004, when national universities – which are more highly ranked than Japan’s private universities – were incorporated to make them more autonomous, public funding has been cut by about 1 per cent a year, said Futao Huang, a professor at the Research Institute for Higher Education at Hiroshima University.

Needing new sources of funds and able to raise tuition fees by only a limited amount, income from their hospitals has proved the “best and quickest way” to boost income, he said.

“For example, they have asked patients to do more medical examinations or to come to receive medical treatment more frequently than before to generate more income,” Professor Huang said.

Hospital income now accounts for almost as much as public allocations, according to these figures – taken from a new analysis paper by Professor Huang, “Changes and challenges to higher education financing in Japan”.

david.matthews@tesglobal.com

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