Expert Qualifications in Japan: The Role of Higher Education

Kiyoko Saito


The goal of this paper was to explore the directions for a Japanese Qualifications Framework (JQF) through the collationof Japanese Government expert viewpoints.This study used a qualitative case study design involving interviews with 15 Japanese government officials. It was foundthat Japan continues to haveproblems with academic degrees and licensing framework and system. Many Japanese government experts believed that Japan needed a qualifications framework and system that could function both domestically and internationally, however, Japan has an insufficient qualifications framework and system which has led to weak competitiveness for Japanese experts. To resolve these issues, a Japanese qualifications system needs (1) to have pathways toward higher skill levels from work-based experience to higher education and (2) to broaden pathways allowing for the transfer of Japanese domestic qualifications to international framework qualifications.It is concluded that to build these pathways, National Qualifications Framework is needed as a common language and a basic framework to make the qualifications more transparent and to align domestic and international qualification standards. The Japanese government should enter into a discussion about JQF seriously with stakeholders in education, industry, and government with the aim of improving higher education programs for experts to ensure domestic and international competitiveness. 

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International Journal of Higher Education
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