Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Education minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Tuesday he approved as of the same day a plan for the establishment of a veterinary medicine faculty by the Kake Educational Institution, a school operator at the center of a favoritism scandal involving Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Okayama University of Science, run by Kake, will open the animal medicine faculty in a national strategic special zone for deregulation in the city of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture, next April, the first month of fiscal 2018.
It will be the first university faculty of animal medicine to be created in the country in 52 years, since Kitasato University set up the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1966.
The minister granted the approval after the Council for University Chartering and School Juridical Person on Thursday advised him to do so.
“I respected the council’s conclusion that Kake’s plan complies with law,” Hayashi told a press conference Tuesday. “I also confirmed that the plan is in line with the concept of the government’s special zone initiative.”
The new faculty will offer a six-year course for veterinarians and a four-year course for veterinary paraprofessionals.
The annual enrollment cap for the department for veterinarians is set at 140, higher than the limits set by any of the existing animal doctor departments at 16 universities in Japan. Of the 140, 20 will be for students from abroad.
To meet government-set conditions, including providing education to help students deal with new fields after becoming veterinarians, the animal doctor department will have its students select one from three specialized programs in their final two years, including life science for new drug development and zoonotic medicine.