Earlier this year, news of a letter sent to presidents of national universities—purportedly telling them to get rid of or modify their humanities departments to better “benefit” Japanese society—spread across the Internet. Since then, it has even been picked up by some high-profile English sites, with considerable (and understandable) consternation. And you can believe there were academics in Japan who were incensed at the idea as well.
But is it actually going to happen? It turns out the short answer is a weak “probably not.” The long answer, though, is a bit more complicated.