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Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012

Todai is No. 1 in Asia but others slip


LONDON — The University of Tokyo, known as Todai, was once again crowned Asia's best university in an annual global ranking released Wednesday, while other Japanese institutions slipped.

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings places the university in 27th place — up from 30th last year — in a table of the world's top 200 schools.

However, the four other Japanese universities in the top 200 fell from last year.

Kyoto University dropped from 52nd to 54th, the Tokyo Institute of Technology moved from 108th to 128th, Tohoku University went down from 120th to 137th and Osaka University fell from 119th to 147th.

Even so, Japan has more universities in the top 200 than any other Asian nation.

Phil Baty, the report's editor, said the declines are due to several factors, including the rise of other Asian schools, particularly in China and Taiwan, and the failure of Japanese universities to adopt a more international outlook.

"Other nations are rising, and standing still will see you fall in the rankings," Baty said. "There's a sense that Japan is perhaps isolated on the world stage, in terms of international collaboration in research and also in terms of international student recruitment.

"A lot of Asian universities have focused on international collaboration and attracting the finest overseas scholars. Japanese universities are not as widely cited in academic research papers as one would expect," he said.

"But Japan has recognized the problem of international isolation and has taken some moves to address the situation. Japan has also not benefited from the kind of focused public investment as in China, which has aimed to create several high-performing universities."

Meanwhile, the California Institute of Technology held on to the world's No. 1 spot, while Harvard University was pushed into fourth place by the University of Oxford and Stanford University, which shared second place.

But the continued presence of Western universities at the top of the table — the United States took seven of the top 10 places — masks the declines these countries have suffered in the overall league table due to the increasingly strong performance of countries like China, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea.

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The Japan Times

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