Norihito Nakata, "The Debt-Based Tendency of Japan’s Student Movement"

The Debt-Based Tendency of Japan’s Student Movement: The View of the Association of Blacklisted Students Norihito Nakata Following the financial crisis of the fall of 2008, struggles in universities erupted across the world. Beginning from the Greek Insurrection, universities in Italy, Spain, England, and France witnessed student uprisings. In North America, the New School University in New York and the UCs in California were shaken by occupations. Having had its ups and downs, the impetus of students’ struggles goes on or is even intensified in places in Europe, as we have just heard about the Milbank occupation. In retrospect, what the financial crisis provoked was nothing but a reinforcement of the exploitative regime of cognitive capitalism, in the costume of a fake Keynsianism called the Green New Deal. During the past forty years, capitalism has been trying to dodge the material limitation of growth and the tendency of the interest rate to fall by way of capturing our immaterial activities and transforming them into commodities. Calling out “There is no money to clean up your mess”; “let capitalism die,” students and teachers have continued their struggles, precisely because they intuited this course of events from the onset. Having functioned as an authorized basis for cognitive and affective productions, universities are now the lifeline of capitalism that it cannot let loose. This essay is the contribution of the Association of Blacklisted Students (hereafter ABS), a Japan-based new student movement, to the discussion of “a global campaign for a debt abolition movement” and to promote “a global day of action,” launched by Edu-factory. We would like to share the history, problems, and aspirations of the student movement in Japan, now facing a new phase with the broad crisis surrounding student loans, with the participants and readers of the Edu-factory project, and get as much feedback as possible, to empower our movement and to be an active part of the global impetus to abolish capitalism and the state that in amalgamation are growing into an unprecedentedly menacing apparatus. First there is a sad story to tell. In Japan, student power in general has been declining since the peak of 68. Especially after the late 90s, the autonomous space in universities that was built and maintained by students and long functioned as the stronghold for a multitude of movements, has been narrowed down unilaterally, accelerating the decline of the movements. Now surveillance cameras are installed on every corner of the campuses, while every person who enters newly built student centers is required to register using electronic keys. Hand-outs and billboards are regulated on the pretext of disrupting the serenity of the academic environment. Rallies and propaganda activities are banned on the pretext of disturbing learning. In the private universities Waseda and Hosei in Tokyo, once known for radical student activism, students who handed out flyers and set up a billboard were turned over to the police by university officials, and other students who organized a rally were expelled for having disturbed lectures. On the other hand, professors are unequivocally pressured by the labor management under the corporatization of universities, and can do little about their education and research projects being controlled by the state and market, under the competitive distribution of funds and the industry-academia amalgamation. Now, in Japanese universities, a common landscape is one in which the students who have become consumers and the professors who have become service workers are ceaselessly carrying out their mental drills in buildings that can no longer be distinguished from a shopping mall. However it is also true that the struggles in universities have come to internalize a new dynamic formation, with which the movements are seeking to open up a new problematic realm that Japan’s 68 had omitted: the singularity of the university. While the university system is falling into ruins and the student movement is losing its historical integrity, both professors and students, namely, those who actually carry out cognitive and affective production, are inexhaustibly inclining toward the university as idea and conceiving desire for the university as war-machine. Japan’s Scholarship System and the Blacklisting It was in January of 2009 that our movement ABS was inaugurated in Kyoto and Tokyo almost simultaneously. The name derived from the blacklisting of delinquent students that the Japan Student Service Organization (JASSO) announced in December 2008, amidst the financial crisis. Let me explain about Japan’s scholarship system and how the blacklisting has come about. What does “delinquency for scholarship” mean? Many would be puzzled by the evident oxymoron. In Japan, shockingly, there are no public programs to offer scholarships[1]. That is to say, a scholarship there means a student loan. Therefore when we talk about scholarship benefit, we have to specify a scholarship without repayment duty. The granting organization JASSO is an independent administrative corporation that single-handedly manages the programs for student loans. It was originally a public institution called Japan Scholarship Foundation [Nihon Ikueikai], which however was transformed to an independent administrative corporation in 2004, as part of the neoliberal reform of the Koizumi Administration. At the moment approximately 40% of all students (including graduate, undergraduate, and junior college students) are more or less relying on the program. In the program there are loans with and without interest. The loan with interest was originally institutionalized by the Nakasone Administration in the early 1980s. The criteria of acceptance for the interest-free loan is said to be based upon the economic conditions of students’ families and their academic records, but it has never been stipulated clearly. All students unequivocally prefer the interest-free loan, but a majority of them are not granted that type, and more than 70% are forced to rely on the interest loan. The average interest-free loan ranges from 540,000 to 770,000 yen annually, and that for the interest loan is between 360,000 and 1800,000 yen. Because of the wider allowance, the poorer the student, the more s/he relies on the latter[2]. Among graduate students, it is not rare to owe nearly 10,000,000 yen by the time of graduation. Up until ten years ago, there were some exemptions for repayment of the debt, but now there is none except for death or disablement[3]. And yet recipients are increasing every year because of tuition hikes and impoverishment of both students and their parents. Between the years 1998 and 2008, the number increased 2.5 times. Now to look at Japan’s tuition situation. In 2009, the annual tuition for the state-run universities was 530,000 yen, which adds up to 810,000 yen including admission fees[4]. Meanwhile the average annual tuition at private universities was 850,000 yen, or 1,310,000 yen including other fees. In Japan about 80% of all students attend private universities. Which is to say that a majority of students are paying more than 1,000,000 yen annually for their education[5]. According to a survey of students’ living conducted by JASSO, about 80% of all students have after-school jobs, about 40% of which are exclusively for earning tuition. JASSO claims that the reason it embarked on blacklisting delinquent students was in response to an increase in the delinquency rate. But it is simply the increase of borrowers that has resulted in the increase in delinquency, while the recovery rate has been over 90%. So their claim of an increase in delinquency is just a rhetorical trick. On the other hand, it is the bare truth that the economic condition of post-graduate youth is harder than ever. Again according to JASSO’s investigation, 80% of the difficulties in repaying loans is due to students’ low income as well as the economic difficulties of their parents. Notwithstanding that JASSO has grasped the cruel reality through its own investigation, it has determined to go ahead with the blacklisting. The blacklisting was announced in an abrupt statement, according to which it was decided by experts for the reason that it is “quite meaningful from an educational vantage point.” Last June, based upon the report: “For Promotion of Repayment of Loans Offered by JASSO” by the Conference of Experts, our organization has determined to report the private information to the respective institutions of private credit information. The decision was made based on the idea that it is quite meaningful from an educational vantage point to provide to the institutions of private credit information the private information of those who fall into arrears for a certain period of time after the commencement of repayment, in order to prevent over-lending to the delinquents and stop their tendency toward multiple debts (…)[6] “The institutions of private credit information” means 1400-some financial institutions, including major banks across the country. What would happen to the students in consequence? When they fail to make payments on the loans for a certain period of time, their information is listed on a database shared by the institutions, and they can no longer put together their loan programs or even use credit cards[7]. A month after the announcement, a form of consent to be included on the blacklist was sent to all borrowers; it declared that the loan would be stopped unless they agreed with the change of contract. Far from questioning the legitimacy or correctness of the unilateral change of contract, universities repeatedly urged their students to sign the consent form. Advent of the Association of Blacklisted Students One month after the announcement, ABS began their campaigns in Kyoto and Tokyo. “No Blacklisting of Delinquents!” “Free Tuition!” – with such slogans, the Kyoto contingent organized an outdoor rally and a Reclaim the Streets type demonstration (called “Sound Demo” in Japan), while a mass rally took place in Tokyo. The statement of the Tokyo rally made two critical arguments against Japan’s ruling order and policy for higher education, concerning the abnormally expensive tuition and the students’ unpaid labor. The part dealing with the latter says: In universities, not only professors but also students are actually working, that is, by their research activities. In this sense it should be that universities pay students their wages, instead of students paying universities tuition. JASSO, however, would not even compensate for the unpaid labor by offering scholarships. On contrary it demands repayment of the sum as their debt and further corners them into crisis by the blacklisting. Where exists the student service of what they do[8]? The Tokyo rally adopted a letter of demands to JASSO, which ABS delivered to the headquarters on the next day. Here are their demands: We admit to no blacklisting. We demand an immediate termination of the rarest folly in human history. We also demand an amendment of the ‘scholarship’ of JASSO to one worthy of its name. In other word, we demand that the scholarship be an unconditional grant, instead of a loan. Our demands are neither exorbitant nor unreal. As already clear in your investigation, more than half of the delinquents are low-income earners. Giving their information to the credit institutions is nothing but a social exclusion of low-income earners. Recently, for instance, an increasing number of real estate agents examine the credit history of potential renters. Due to the policy of JASSO, many students won’t be able to even rent living spaces. To create such a situation – can this be called “quite meaningful from an educational vantage point”? Furthermore, blacklisting students is equal to converting students into a debt security, which is absolutely inadmissible from an educational vantage point. According to internationally shared principles, scholarship is always a grant, which should be distinguished from a loan. In Europe, the scholarship as grant is the majority, while even in the US, an exceptional case, the tuition loan accounts for only 50% of the entire scholarship program. The situation in Japan that a majority of scholarship programs of JASSO are loans is an anomaly. The Human Rights Committee of the UN has been advising the Japanese Government to make an effort to gradually make its higher education free (The International Covenants on Human Rights: Article 13, Section C). Needless to say, this is based upon the shared principle that higher education should be open to everybody. The Japanese Government has been ignoring this advice, but we believe that an unconditional grant of tuition by JASSO is the only realistic solution. As evident in the fact that all other developed countries are more or less following this policy, this must be possible in Japan in terms of its financial condition. There is no way for a society to be happy by soaking its students in the sewer of debt. The diffusion of high tuition and student loans is nothing but an abnormality. While liberating students from the yoke of money and encouraging their potency to grow are the most urgent task now, the policy of JASSO is despicable in destroying all of their possibilities. We demand an immediate termination of the blacklisting and an unconditional grant of scholarship for both tuition and living expenses[9]. In response JASSO wrote us back: (1) Because the blacklisting is based upon an educational consideration for preventing students’ multiple debts, it doesn’t intend to suspend it; (2) under the current financial conditions, it is difficult to establish a scholarship as grant[10]. Thereafter the Tokyo contingent of ABS, to which I belong, has implemented their actions: i.e., protests at the seminar inviting JASSO’s CEOs and the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT); surprise interviews of those professors who proposed the blacklisting in the Conference of Experts and broadcast of the interviews on the internet; participation in the occupation at the University of Ryukyus in Okinawa; participation in the rally of regional labor unions and the JASSO union; taking action in the Freeters’ Mayday[11]; organizing a symposium as part of the “Global Week of Action 2009!! Reclaim Your Education!!”, etc. Composition of the Movement What is new about ABS in the context of Japan’s student movement? The newness embodies both the weakness and the potency of the new movement. The first aspect is in its composition. There are no systematic conformities between the Kyoto and Tokyo contingents. Although these groups in different cities have frequent contact and exchanges, the movements are independently coordinated. Anybody can become a member of ABS by just calling themselves by the name. To fight against blacklisting is the only necessary agreement. Members in the Tokyo contingent form a loose affinity group, consisting of not only graduate and undergraduate students, but also part-time instructors, full-time professors, bookshop clerks, editors, dishwashers, etc. They are mostly activists of an anti-authoritarian vein; no members of sectarian movements – those which have continued from the time of the New Left -- are involved. Their ages vary from twenties to fifties. The group has derived from an association made during the protests against the G8 Summit in Toyako 2008. The graduate students who organized the activist camps and the part-time instructors who organized the actions against the university summit came into contact and formed an affinity group, facing the crisis of the university developed and intensified thereafter. In the history of Japan’s student movement, such mishmash grouping is a new phenomenon. In the previous student movements too, conscientious professors were involved. But the situations then and now are significantly different. There used to be a presumed class conflict between students and professors, akin to the contradiction between workers and capitalists. For instance, one of the most crucial objectives of Japan’s 68 was to establish a true self-government association of students, in opposition to the self-government constituted by the faculty meeting. Now, as embodied by the ABS’ composition, the presumption of student/professor conflict no longer makes sense under today’s condition of university education that is subsumed by Neoliberal capitalism in toto. University policies are no longer governed by the self-government of the faculty meeting, but more directly by the administration of the board of trustees and the MEXT, especially since the state-run universities were corporatized in 2004. Professors and instructors are now workers gasping under the severe labor management. It is true that there is an asymmetricity of power between students and professors, and that the faculty meeting often follows the logic of corporatization. There are many problematic instances that require serious critical scrutiny. And yet the university faculty too is an object totally captured by the operation of finance. Thus both are part of the same affinity group, as cognitarian workers. Another aspect of ABS is that there are no members who come from the student movement in the conventional sense. As I have mentioned, the anti-summit movement of 2008 prepared the advent of the group. In this organizing, graduate students played an important role. As exemplified in the struggle of Tokyo University in 1968, graduate students’ involvement in the movement is not new. But many graduate students who fought in 1968 came from the student movement; some of them were even veterans for more than ten years in university-based organizing, precisely because universities used to offer the material basis both economically and spatially for the whole oppositional movement. Which was the epitome of Japan’s 68. In contrast the graduate students of 2008 had little experience in university movements in the same sense. Some of them are also involved in the recent precarious workers’ movements, and have begun to play an important role in developing the new mixed current of inside and outside university. The background of this merger is that the student movement as an independent and integral domain has been decomposed on the one hand, and the graduate schools have become factories of informal workers instead of national elites, on the other hand. The number of gradate students in Japan has dramatically increased in the past twenty years, due to the government’s policy of prioritizing higher education. In the year 1985 there were about 70,000 graduate students, but in 2006 the number surpassed 260,000. The policy was motivated by a hope of increasing the number to reach an international standard, but without consideration about job availability[12]. Generally speaking, Japanese enterprises prefer the younger labor power of college graduates, and hire almost no PhDs. Meanwhile the number of academic teaching posts is decreasing drastically, due to the economic difficulties and the drop of the population. While about 16,000 PhDs are anointed annually, new teaching posts are limited to somewhere between 5000 and 8000. In consequence, the working poor with masters’ and doctors’ degrees is common. The graduate students of 68 were guaranteed posts of full-time lecturer, as long as they obeyed their professors’ guidance. The graduate students of 2008 can hardly get a post of even part-time lecturer. And the working conditions of part-time lecturers is severe: they are living off of less than 2,000,000 yen annual income without social security, moving back and forth between schools across the country to give talks. Now even such working conditions are a privilege. Now let us look at the withering of the student movement. In many Japanese universities there were once students’ self-government associations and various types of self-governed organizations. In postwar Japan, universities became the most important organizational ground for both the Japan Communist Party (JCP) and the New Left groups. The primary action for any oppositional movement took place in universities, namely, to occupy dormitories and student centers and self-manage the university-based spaces in order to create campaigns. In fact there were innumerable instances where they made the university authority acknowledge the right of self-government. In most cases, hegemony of the space was under either the Democratic Youth League of Japan (JCP’s students’ organization) or the New Left sects. But non-sectarian activists were able to cohabitate in the space and created diverse movements of their own. As I have already mentioned, however, beginning from the late 90s, the autonomous space has been dismantled and the self-government organization has been taken away through the redevelopment of campuses and the reinforcement of security. Thus the decline of the radical movement in general. Since then students have been seeking to create both material and immaterial autonomous spaces outside universities. It could be said that ABS was born within this broad current. Thanks to the existence of the self-government organization in each university, the previous student movement was able to hold an independent objective to tackle according to each school, which in turn made it both unnecessary and difficult for the student activists to share objectives with people with various jobs and living conditions outside universities. Now that the self-government organization has withered away and the students themselves have become a sort of precarious workers, they are unwittingly able to be inside and outside universities at the same time, and collaborate with different kinds of people. And it is from this outside place that the students are now asking what is the university and who are the students in the new context of debt-based society. The Demands of ABS The demands of ABS are: termination of the blacklisting, free tuition, wages for students, and guaranteed living expenses. In the history of the Japanese student movement, these demands are totally unheard of. In terms of tuition, the previous student movement fought against its rise. Up until the early 70s, tuition was much less than now. In 1971, the annual tuition of state-owned universities was 18,000 yen, and the average tuition of private universities was 95,000 yen[13]. From the late 70s to the 90s, it went up exponentially, and the anti-tuition hike struggle was implemented at each stage. In those phases, the movement had never thought that tuition should be free. Or more precisely, they thought that tuition should ultimately be free, but that there were priorities for the redistribution of wealth before university tuition. This is the reason why the movement had never demanded wages for students and their guaranteed living expenses. It was generally thought, often by the students themselves, that universities were the privileged place for those who were detached from the workers and the masses. The previous student movement too asked questions on what is a university. Especially in 68, what is university and who are students were asked endlessly. One of the significant breaks that Japan’s 68 made was that the students smashed the image of the university as the basis for civil society and revealed its criminal aspects. “Decompose the University” was the most circulated slogan of the time. There were some variations, but shared among them was the sense that the present university system was nothing but an apparatus for (re)organizing Japanese imperialism and the monopoly capitalism. But with this sense being stressed it was not that everything else was abandoned. Beginning from “Anti-University,” there were a number of problematizations containing full potency for unveiling the singularity of the university[14]. These problematizations however were never developed into the demands of “free tuition” and “wages for students.” What blocked the development was the doctrinarian Leninism claiming that the subject of the revolutionary movement is the working class while the students are just a reserve army, or the politics-centrism with an authoritarian understanding of revolution that only a change of social system can deliver a change of university. This was expressed symbolically by the slogan frequently heard during the years 1969 and 1970: “from individual college struggles to a centralized anti-power struggle.” All in all, before and after 68, universities were just territories in which to expand--particularly for the sectarian movements--which were, contrary to their claim of striving to decompose universities, actually more like parasites to them, using them to gain tidy budgets for their self-government organization. The student movement in this sense was over. Our struggle can no longer rely on universities economically and spatially. Let us return to the demands of ABS. Why should tuition be gratuitous? Why should living expenses of students be guaranteed? It might be better to turn the questions around. Why should tuition be onerous? Why should living expenses of students be not guaranteed? As we have seen already, the reasons JASSO rejected the demands of ABS were “educational consideration” and “financial condition.” This response embodied nothing but a threat of Neoliberalist logic. At the same time, this proves the government’s fear of making university education free, because of the anxiety of severing the logic of exchange by inserting gratuitousness. Blacklisting is a strange policy if we think about it closely. To soak students in debt has a certain rationality from the vantage point of governance. Debt in this context is an ideal means to exploit workers who are not yet born and bind them for their future life of wage slavery. When they graduate, the students fill in the written oath to pay back their loans, look at the names of their parents and siblings who are joint sureties, and are ready to accept the indignity of wage labor or slavery with debt for the rest of their lives. David Graeber rightfully says: “Debt is the most efficient means ever created to make relations fundamentally based on violence and inequality seem morally upright.[15]” But things get a little nastier with the blacklisting. From the vantage point of capital’s accumulation, is it rational to blacklist the students who have already been soaked in debt and push them into self-destruction? This is the logical breakdown inherent in Neoliberalism. At this stage, capital must capture human’s cognitive power qua the commons, but the policy of blacklisting that propels disposal of life would destroy the commons itself. Or this might be the first sign of a financialization of life itself, inviting more and more menacing and sophisticated technologies of control. In any event what the government fears is not the financial deficit as it claims, but the logic of exchange being severed. In fact the process of immaterial production (or the process through which service is consumed) cannot be understood properly by the logic of exchange. For instance, when we talk to each other, what is happening? Are we exchanging words and feelings like money and commodity? No! Precisely speaking, we are sharing them with others. Herein words and feelings are being shared in the form of affective interaction. That is to say, in universities the practices involving language and recognition take place everyday, which are based upon sharing, but forcibly molded into the relationship of monetary exchange by the levy of high tuition. Therefore the truth that the production of university is made possible only by sharing, gift and its potent gratuitousness is the most threatening scandal the government and capital must suppress. Pay attention to the demands of ABS, asking the unconditional scholarship grant that covers both tuition and living expenses. Though it may seem so, we are not asking the government and JASSO for the redistribution of wealth as a welfare state would do. It intends to liberate the university qua the commons from the yoke of capital, while the demands of gratuitous tuition and guarantee of living expenses are its means. Our vision is that these demands would be a step toward a gradual dissipation of capital and the state. In the Medieval Ages the university was inaugurated as a syndicate of the delinquent students called Goliards. They were the nomads in Europe, fighting against the power of the church and wandering between cities for their pursuit of new knowledge. The union they organized for survival was the embryonic form of university. What was at stake in their efforts was a creation of a new morality, a new form of knowledge, and happiness[16]. The nature of the stake is the same today in our struggle in and around universities. Thus it is necessary to invoke the memory of the Medieval university in order to recover the singularity of university, the university as war-machine, today when the university system is about to be enclosed by the nation-state and capitalism. Precisely like the Goliards did, we would create innumerable texts and share them as the commons. The realization of gratuitous tuition and guaranteed living expenses is part of the process. Toward A Global Movement to Abolish the Regime of Debt The process of blacklisting has not been stopped. Despite a change of administration in September 2009, from the Liberal Democratic Party to the Democratic Party, there has been no significant renewal of the policy concerning higher education. Thanks to a humble effect of our struggle against blacklisting, a stipulation was made that in the case of those whose annual income is below 3,000,000 yen, repayment is given five-year grace period. But what will happen after the sixth year? Still with the policy, many youth will lose their means of learning and livelihood. On top of that, the government and financial circles are apt to privatize JASSO and convert scholarships into securities. Thinking of their scale, scholarships could be made into a charming financial commodity. But the financialization would further expand the crisis of default globally. While scholarships are converted into securities, the movement will jump up to the stage in which we call for bilking debts and the credit system in its entirety. In this paper I have shown the present situation of Japan’s university struggle: while universities are being ruined, a new dynamic composition of the movement is born and the singularity of university is pursued anew. But many questions remain open. What follows is but a few of them: (1) The issue of debt is shared not only among students but also all working people. Now that debt is becoming a universal mechanism of control, the movement to abolish it could be an axis of a global anti-capitalist movement. But what could the tactics and strategy be for the global movement? On the one hand, we are deeply sympathetic to the statement: “there is nothing to demand,” since we are not interested in lobbying and we agree with the general direction to “change the world without taking power.” But on the other hand, quite honestly speaking, we want to be free from the tuition debt and have it paid by the state, and believe that, inasmuch as capitalism is reproducing itself by capturing various institutions including the education system, it is necessary to tackle the institutions, push them into breakdown and recapture their functions by our hands. We are oscillating between these two strategic positions. (2) So far, both ABS and the students of the University of Ryukyus (UR) have been establishing rapports with movements abroad to a certain extent. For instance, the occupation at the UR that took place in March 2009 was inspired by the struggle in the New School University in New York[17]. They learned the tactic of occupation not from the previous student movement in Japan, but from the students of New York and Greece fighting today. In turn, ABS and the UR occupation resonated abroad. The actions of ABS were introduced in France; the students of Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales unanimously made a decision to support ABS during their strike. Groups of students who called themselves ABS appeared in cities such as Paris and Copenhagen, and in the action against the Bologna Process in March 2010 in Vienna. To the students occupying the UR, statements of solidarity were sent from across the world. Could these resonances grow into a simultaneous action and campaign across the globe? In what conditions and situations? (3) Finally, there are problems inherent in today’s anti-authoritarian, anti-sectarian, and horizontalist movements such as ABS. Today their growth and disappearance take place in an instant. Campaigns succeed or fail, and are replaced by others incessantly. Also as the worst examples have been presented in Japan’s New Left Sects, there are issues of internal conflicts among radical movements. How can we go beyond these intra-movement issues, particularly along with the debt abolition impetus? Edited/translated by Sabu Kohso [1] Neither are there many privately funded scholarship programs in Japan, unlike in the US where each university has its own program based upon donations. As I shall mention later, though, there are a few exceptions. [2] In the case of graduate schools, the amounts go up: 960,000 ~ 1,464,000 for the interest-free loan and 600,000 ~ 1,800,000 for the interest loan. The term for supplying is limited to the normal period for completion; repeaters are rejected. [3] There is a rare exception for those graduate students who are receiving interest-free loans: if their academic records are particularly superior, repayment could be exempted. [4] Beginning from 2008, Tokyo University offered free tuition to those students whose household income is less than 4,000,000 yen annually. And in all state and public universities, those students whose families are on relief are exempted from school fees. However, the screening for receiving this waiver is abnormally meticulous, and the needy can receive only 10 ~ 20 % of what they are entitled. See Tachibanaki Toshiaki & Urakawa Kunio, Studies on Japan’s Poverty [Nihon no Hinkon Kenkyu], Tokyo: The Tokyo University Press, 2006. [5] According to 2006 average, the percentage of higher education in public expenditure among OECD member countries is 72.6 %, while that of Japan is just 32.2 %. It is not that the Japanese government cherishes elementary and secondary education instead. The percentage of education in the total governmental expenditure is only 9.5 %, the lowest among OECD member countries. [6] From JASSO: “About the Registration of Private Credit Information.” [7] Except that the repayment obligation is temporarily postponed in case of accident, injury, and unemployment. [8] >From ABS blog: [9] ibid. [10] ibid. [11] Freeters in Japanese jargon is a compound of free and Arbeiter, which means part-time, informal workers. [12] See Mizuki Shodo, The Well-Educated Working Poor [Kougakureki Working Poor], Tokyo: Kobunsha, 2007. In passing, in 2004, the number of graduate students is 1.9 per 1000 people in Japan, while in the US it is 8.4 and in France, 8.6. [13] According to a record of the Ministry of Labor, the initial salary of college graduates averaged 43,000 yen in 1971. [14] “When we say ‘Decompose the University,’ the targets of decomposition are: the university that mass-produces the division of intelligent middle class and technical laborers, and the expropriated consciousness of those of us who are complacent in the illusory and sanctified community. What we call the anti-university movement is a totality of the critiques of everyday life that start from the place called university, and seek to go beyond and destroy the apparatus called university and the communication system based upon it, in order to create the communication that the power would never hope for.” From Tsumura Takashi, The Revolution that Touches Our Soul [Tamashii ni Fureru Kakumei], Tokyo: Line Shuppan, 1970, p. 238. [15] David Graeber, “Tactical Briefing,” <>. [16] Yoshiharu Shiraishi & Taniguchi Kiyohiko, “The Return of Goliards,” included in Shiraishi, Adulterated Education [Fujyun naru Kyoyo], Tokyo: Seido Sha, 2010. [17] In March 2009, a number of students at the University of Ryukyus took over a lot in front of the library, built tents, and began a sit-in. The action was to protest the reduction of language courses by half and the accompanied firing of part-time lecturers. Some members of ABS joined from the mainland. The occupation lasted for a month, though unfortunately without a success in the recovery of the damages. During the occupation, people cooked and dined together; they organized concerts and a flea market, inviting people from outside, to transform the university into a heterogeneous community. Even after the occupation ended, they continue to grow vegetables and have parties in the same lot. See .