Tuesday, November 06, 2012

The MEXT About-Turn: That Was Quick

On November 6, four days after MEXT Minister Tanaka announced that she had refused permission for three new universities to open for business in school year 2013, she finished a regularly scheduled press conference, then returned three minutes later to tell the reporters that she’s forgotten to say something important and announced that a “new framework would soon be established to decide anew under new standards, including the three universities.” This is being widely interpreted to mean that the three schools will be allowed to open for SY2013. The announcement took all of two minutes, and the minister refused to take questions.

She is playing within type. She tosses pointed barbs, which as often as not hit the mark, and the public is entertained. She makes an impulsive decision without considering the consequences or talking it through with interested parties. Forced to make a turnabout, she’s barely able to face up to the task of making the announcement, but not enduring the fallout. And that announcement as coda is typical behavior from a small child.

Noda all but asked for it. But I’m still surprised that it happened so quickly, from the beginning, to the not-quite-finish-yet.

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