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The Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture

The Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture (often shortened to Ministry of Education or Monbusho ) is the primary authority over higher education. It approves the establishment of all new institutions, both public and private, and directly controls the budgets of all national institutions and their affiliated research institutes. In addition, the ministry regulates many aspects of the university environment, including standards for academics and physical plants and facilities. The ministry also provides subsidies to private higher education institutions for both operation and equipment and made long-term loans for physical plant improvement.

Government appropriations are the largest source of funds for national universities (more than 75 percent), and tuition and fees provides most revenues for private schools (about 66 percent), with subsidies accounting for another 10 to 15 percent for the private schools. The 1975 Private School Promotion Law allowed the government to subsidize private education and increased the ministry's authority over private schools, but the ministry's own budgetary limits and general fiscal restraint have tended to limit such subsidies, which remained relatively low. In FY 1988, for example, only 244 billion of the total ministry budget of 4.6 trillion went for this purpose.

The Ministry of Education has two major areas of responsibility related to graduate education and research. In addition to being generally responsible for the national universities and establishing their research institutes, the ministry also promotes the research conducted at universities and funded both institutions and individuals. About a half-dozen research institutes, such as the National Institute for Educational Research and the National Institute for Special Education, are also under direct ministry supervision. Several types of research organizations are affiliated with universities: the national research institutes attached to national universities, independent research facilities affiliated with national universities but open to researchers from universities throughout Japan, other research centers, and other facilities at national, local, public, and private universities.

The ministry is not the exclusive agent for funding and promoting research, but it accounted for about half of the entire government budget for research throughout most of the 1980s. In addition to providing funds for research institutes and national universities, the ministry gives smaller amounts for scientific grants and programs in other public and private institutions.

The ministry can devote funds to particular areas of research that it considered important. In FY 1988, the ministry emphasized the following programs in its budget: space science, particularly scientific satellites, rockets, and astronomy; high-energy physics and accelerator experiments; and construction of a national research and development information network.

Data as of January 1994