In 2003, Japanese national universities are due to be converted
Independent Administrative Institutions. With independence will also
follow administrative responsibilities. In preparation for this change,
universities are currently accelerating their drive for reform.
For Hokkaido University, to which the Slavic Research Center
this means that it will be up to the university to decide for itself,
from a business point of view, whether the SRC is a benefit or a cost.
Beginning in 2000, the SRC has assumed responsibility for training
postgraduate students, but is currently not conducting any
undergraduate instruction. Since
the number of postgraduate students at present and in the years to come
projected not to exceed 20-30, this arrangement will not be practical
the business point of view. Most importantly, since the SRC is
affiliated with the university it is an open question whether or not
the university will
view it favorably. Fortunately, up until the present the SRC has
maintained a high standard of research both nationally and overseas.
One of the main characteristics of the university is that the
facilities of the SRC are accessible nationwide, thus not only being
beneficial in their own right but also adding emphasis to the
In the future, however, it is going to be more difficult for the SRC to
remain within the university. Since faculties with postgraduate
departments continue to emphasize research, the gap between these
schools and research centers that up until now have only conducted
research has narrowed. The Japanese
Ministry of Education, moreover, is moving towards the idea of
separating research centers from the universities.
As a regional research institution, which focuses on the
Slavic/Eurasian region, the SRC supports the planned reorganization of
our country's regional research institutions. Once these institutions
have been integrated, and a
core organization created, then attention can focus on their
achievements. The SRC, for example, would form part of an integrated
research organization and could remain as part of the university.
Either way, the year 2003 for Japanese national universities and
SRC alike will be a major turning point.