Tokyo's Waseda University Promises ¥100,000 to Every Student in Response to COVID-19

Tokyo Culture Coronavirus 2020.04.28
This Japanese university's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak is shocking and confusing the general public.
Governments around the world have recently made moves to support citizens financially during the COVID-19 outbreak, with temporary payments of varying sums of money. The latest news from Japan is that some parts of the country are now starting the process of delivering the Japanese government's promised ¥100,000 to every citizen. In Tokyo, however, a different sort of establishment has announced that they're taking on a similar project.

Waseda University

Waseda University (早稲田大学) is a historic private research university founded in 1882, right in the middle of Tokyo, and now consistently ranked as one of the most prestigious universities in Japan. On April 24th the institution made an official announcement on their website, saying that in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, they would be offering "emergency support" (緊急支援) to every single one of their students.

The Details of the Financial Support

The university started the announcement by declaring that the support would total 500 million yen, even including the sum in the page's title, and went on to clarify that the money was just one of the moves they would be making, in addition to lending students computers and portable wifi devices needed for online courses, and promising extra financial aid to students whose families were experiencing particular financial difficulties.

Getting into the details for the emergency support payment, Waseda explained that not only was every one of their (40,000+) undergraduate students eligible to receive the money, but every single Waseda student would in fact be eligible. That includes Waseda preparatory middle and high schools, and their school of the arts. Any Waseda student would be able to apply for the 100,000 yen payment.

Confusion & Frustration

While students and their families were of course pleased to hear this news in the middle of difficult times, confusion quickly followed, and the general public ran to Twitter to voice their grievances.
Twitter user @masked_waseda writes:

A sum total of 500 million ∧ 100,000 per person → distribution to 5000 people.
Waseda's current enrollment exceeds 50,000 students.

Wait what??????????


Using a logical conjunction, @masked_waseda points out a serious flaw in Waseda's plan. They even commented on their own tweet, noting "I don't know if I'm the stupid one, or if Waseda is just 💩."

The frustration was palpable, with users like @momoichigo817 sharing clear confusion over the lack of clarity, writing:

Apparently Waseda's giving out 100,000 yen,
but are they giving it to everybody?
Is it just for students with scholarships?
If it's everybody, a total of 500 million yen wouldn't be enough, right?


Later adding "If they're not handing over 100,000 to everybody, that's discrimination! It's really, really discrimination! If they're going to do something like that, I end up thinking everyone's better off as they are now."

But the first two tweets didn't voice the only dissatisfaction spreading on twitter. User @kvydm pointed out that the promised 500 million yen total was basically a drop in the bucket for an extremely prestigious private university like Waseda, writing:

【How Waseda Makes 500 Million Yen】
Science major tuition 1.7 million yen/year x 4 years x 75 students = 510 million yen

It's about as much as 75 students (one small specialization) will pay in tuition over the course of their 4 year undergraduate degree.

They can gather 500 million yen from just 75 people.

Tuition is way too high.
#waseda #100,000yen

Like the other Twitter users, @kvydm also followed up their own tweet by commenting how 500 million yen wouldn't be nearly enough for every Waseda student, adding "At least 90% of students won't receive the payment. Everybody, open your eyes."

How will Waseda resolve the situation?

As of yet, Waseda hasn't made any official announcements since the original post concerning their responses to COVID-19 on April 24th. But their 50,000+ student body waits in anticipation, unsure of what this flawed calculation could mean for each and every one of them. The Japankuru team will certainly be joining them, checking Waseda University's official website for any updates in the coming days!

Tell us what you think of this news, and any other recent news you've heard concerning Japan, on the official Japankuru twitter, instagram, and facebook!
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