Education Minister To Hear From His Predecessors

Education minister to hear from his predecessors

Japan's education minister says his ministry will conduct hearings with his predecessors to examine what led to the idea of using private-sector English tests as part of a standardized test for university admission.

Koichi Hagiuda was responding to a question from an opposition party member at a Diet session on Thursday. He was asked about his ministry's abrupt decision last week to postpone the introduction of the English tests planned for next April.

Renho of the Constitutional Democratic Party said too many things remain unclear about how the decision to introduce such tests was made. She said she believes former education minister Hakubun Shimomura is the only one who knows.

She pointed out that before becoming education minister in 2012, Shimomura headed the Liberal Democratic Party's taskforce on education reform and his party's initiative to formally request to the government that such tests be introduced.

Renho said that during Shimomura's three-year tenure as education minister, the ministry worked out the basic design of how to hold such tests as part of national standardized tests for university admission.

Renho said the decision-making process during that period remains mostly hidden to the public. She asked Hagiuda if he plans to hold a hearing with Shimomura, who's now a member of the Lower House.

Hagiuda said he's very interested in hearing directly from his predecessors on how the idea of using private-sector English tests came about.