Comprehensive Tie-Up Concluded with Minerva UniversityWorld’s most innovative university to establish base in Tokyo

The Nippon Foundation, Minerva University of the United States, and the general incorporated association Minerva Japan signed an agreement on April 22 to establish a Minerva University base in Japan.

At the signing ceremony (left to right) Minerva President Mike Magee, The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa, Minerva Japan Representative Director Hiromi Sakae

The Nippon Foundation has been building networks to provide multilayered support to address social issues for more than 60 years, while Minerva University has been named the world’s most innovative university by World’s Universities with Real Impact. Minerva University classes are held entirely online, and students live in seven cities around the world during their four years of undergraduate study. This agreement will add Tokyo as an eighth rotation city, and aims to address issues associated with “teaching to the test” and high university tuition, and to create a new educational model with a learning program that involves Japanese universities, local communities, and businesses.

Social innovation hub

The full-scale launch of the Tokyo rotation city program is scheduled for the fall of 2025, with roughly 150 students expected to come to live in Tokyo. As Japan has been one of the first countries to face a number of global issues including a declining birthrate and aging population, as well as issues related to sustainability, The Nippon Foundation and Minerva University will prepare a program in which Minerva students work together with Japanese university students to attempt to address these issues. The Nippon Foundation has already decided to provide roughly 250 million yen to Minerva University and intends to continue to support the program for the next 10 years. This support will be made through the Sasakawa Peace Foundation’s Global Leaders Scholarship program and will be used to assist Japanese students attending Minerva, and to promote ties between Minerva University and Japanese universities, local communities and businesses, and to arrange internships.

Creating diverse sense of values

Minerva University President Mike Magee, who represented the university at the signing, commented that the base in Japan being established with The Nippon Foundation will be the first rotation city other than San Francisco where students can live and study for up to one year, and that he looks forward to seeing how students take advantage of this immersion learning in Japanese language, culture, and history. The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa also noted that the objective of Minerva’s innovative program of having students spend four years living in seven different countries is to have them acquire diverse values and skills for addressing social issues around the world, and that he looks forward to working with the university to develop human resources of the highest quality.

Minerva University students Yasuko Kinoshita (left) and Mototada Furuta (right)

Current Minerva University students Yasuko Kinoshita, a third-year student from Akita Prefecture, and Mototada Furuta, a second-year student from Shizuoka Prefecture, also spoke at the signing ceremony. They discussed why they chose to attend Minerva and their student experiences, as well as their expectations for Tokyo as a new rotation city.

Agreement contents

  1. Tokyo will become one of Minerva University’s rotation cities
  2. A program will be developed to develop insights for addressing various issues based on Japanese history and culture
  3. Students will travel around Japan meeting with university students, local communities, businesses, and other organizations to attempt to address various issues facing Japan

About Minerva University

Minerva University is a comprehensive four-year university established in San Francisco, and admitted its first class in 2014. More than 80% of its students are from outside the United States, representing roughly 100 countries around the world, including 26 students who are Japanese citizens (as of April 2024). In 2022 and 2023, Minerva was ranked as the world’s most innovative university by World’s Universities with Real Impact, an organization whose partners include the United Nations Institute for Training and Research.

Courses are conducted entirely online, meaning that students can attend classes from anywhere in the world. At the same time, over the course of their four years, students live in seven major cities around the world where they are involved in project learning and internships in cooperation with local companies, NGOs, government and research institutions, and other organizations (the rotation program). This enables students to have experiences not available at other universities and cultivates individuals who are able to apply practical skills in new fields.


Global Communication Team
The Nippon Foundation

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