Universities Are Not for Money

Kanako Takayama, Graduate School of Law

Reforms that seek to turn national universities into tools of “arms dealers” are currently being forced through, but the same problem had already become apparent from the time of the Yoshida Dormitory SLAP lawsuit. At the time of filing of the lawsuit, Mr. Shinsuke Kawazoe, the director in charge of students, was planning to demolish the dormitory and set up a profitable business. Already since then, the rent for the women’s dormitory has become as high as that of private housing.

However, such a move is now under social condemnation. It is clear that the international competitiveness of Japanese academia has declined due to moves to turn universities into tools for profit-making, including the budget and personnel cutbacks resulting from the incorporation of national universities since 2004. The same is true of the substantial demolition of the Science Council of Japan under the leadership of the “Minister of State for Disaster Prevention and Ocean Policy.”

The ideas of a few, obsessed with money and power and lacking expertise, have led to the identification of research fields that should be promoted and the elimination of others. This does not even make money, but only leads directly to the interests of some in defense-related industries.

Researchers are not working for any particular “stakeholders.” They are working for the search for truth and the future welfare of humanity.

If you are trying to recruit the best students from inside and outside the country, targeting only the wealthy will only lower the level. The dormitories and their autonomy, which allow those with financial difficulties to live there, attract a diverse and talented group of people to Kyoto University, including those who quit their jobs to study at the law school and various international students. An attack on the dormitory and its autonomy means an attack on the level of research and education.