Four Japanese universities slip in annual global ranking

The University of Tokyo remained Asia’s No. 1 institution of higher education according to an annual international ranking released on Wednesday, but other Japanese universities lost ground.

The country’s most prestigious university, known locally as Todai, held steady in 23rd place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2014-15.

Four other Japanese universities that made the top-200 list dropped in the rankings. Kyoto University fell seven places to 59th, while the Tokyo Institute of Technology dropped to 141st from 125th. Osaka University slipped to 157th from 144th, and Tohoku University moved down to 165th from 150th.

“There is an encouraging commitment in Japan to improve Japanese universities’ international outlook, which can be a real driver of improvement, but as nations like China and South Korea continue to make strong progress, it is not clear whether such reforms will be enough,” Phil Baty, the editor of Times Higher Education World University Rankings, said in a statement.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s growth strategy, announced last year, aimed to have more than 10 Japanese universities ranked among the world’s top 100 within the next decade. The education ministry said last week it will give financial support to 37 public and private universities to boost their international competitiveness. These schools, dubbed “super global universities,” include the University of Tokyo, Kyoto University and Osaka University.

As for other Asian universities in the top 50, the National University of Singapore moved up one place to 25th to retain Asia’s No. 2 status. The University of Hong Kong remained unchanged at 43rd place, and Peking University ranked 48th, down from 45th. Tsinghua University rose one place to 49th, while Seoul National University was 50th, down from 44th.

Hong Kong University of Science and Technology shot up six places to 51st, and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology rose to 52nd from 56th.

Japan maintained its position as Asia’s top country with five schools listed in the top 200, followed by South Korea and Hong Kong with four respectively and China with three.

“East Asia’s top universities continue their strong upward movement in the rankings, on the back of strong government financial support, strong leadership and a strong commitment to excellence in higher education and research,” Baty observed.

“We now have two Asian universities in the world top 25 for the first time, with eight Asian institutions in or very close to the world top 50 and 24 Asian institutions in the top 200 — four more than last year,” he added.

The California Institute of Technology took first place for the fourth straight year in the rankings, while Harvard University came second and the University of Oxford ranked third. Stanford University was fourth and the University of Cambridge came fifth.

The United States had the highest number of institutions ranked in the top 200 with 74 schools, followed by the United Kingdom with 29 and Germany with 12.

The British magazine compiled the rankings by assessing various indicators across five areas: industry income, teaching, citations, research and international outlook.

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Four Japanese universities slip in annual global ranking
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