More than seventy percent of higher education in Japan is supplied by the private sector. This shows that it is important to analyze private universities/colleges in order to recognize existing higher education and to forecast the future.
However, private universities/colleges in Japan do not act alone, but are affiliated to educational foundations. From different points of view, many educational foundations cover different educational stages, such as the four-year university or college, two-year college, high school, junior high school, primary school, kindergarten, and vocational school. That is why we use educational foundations as the unit of analysis in this paper. The purpose of this study is, by focusing on the affiliated schools of educational foundations, to clarify the following issues concerning to higher education in Japan: (1) what kind of managerial actions (especially to launch or abolish schools) educational foundations take, (2) what type of educational foundations enter into the higher education market, (3) what type of educational foundations withdraw from the higher education market.
The main findings are as follows: (1) the rate of increase in the number of educational foundations has diminished because the numbers withdrawing from activities has increased even though some foundations are entering in new activities; (2) those educational foundations that have one or more high schools tend to launch junior high schools and those educational foundations that have one or more junior high schools tend to launch primary schools; (3) educational foundations that have recently entered into the higher education market tend not to have educational stages from kindergarten to high school, (4) educational foundations that withdraw from the higher education market tend not to have one or more schools except for universities/colleges and most of those foundations continue to exist after withdrawing from the higher education market.
These findings have three implications. First, educational foundations which aim to launch schools at the lower stages of education may think that the significance of the existence, goal and prestige of the whole of the educational foundation is important because the scale and profit of the lower stages may often be smaller than the higher stages. Second, against a background of the deterioration of the financial position, it might become increasingly hard for educational foundations that have secondary or lower schools to launch universities/colleges. Third, educational foundations that have only one university/college possibly become extinct when the university/college becomes bankrupt, so considerations about the ideal methods of merger with other foundations are needed.