21 October 2017 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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Debate heats up over free higher education plan

Discussions are heating up within the ruling Liberal Democratic Party over how the government should procure funds to make universities and junior colleges tuition-free after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his willingness in his January policy speech to make it happen, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.

The Liberal Democratic Party is considering introducing dedicated government bonds for education to cover the JP¥3.1 trillion (US$27 billion) that would be needed annually to allow free higher education. However, some members of the party are rejecting the idea, saying it will pass on debt to future generations. At this point, finding common ground appears very difficult.

Hakubun Shimomura, the party’s executive acting secretary-general, said at a recent press conference that procuring funds for free higher education warrants careful deliberation. A special task force was created within the party on 15 February to discuss the financial aspects of free higher education. Comprising mainly former education ministers, including Shimomura, the task force will discuss financial options including the introduction of the education bond; the introduction of a non-interest-bearing, no-tax bond, which would be exempted from inheritance tax; and a consumption tax hike.
Full report on The Japan News site
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