Education: Japan's Search for U.S. Colleges

East meets West as Tokyo goes campus shopping

They own Los Angeles' Arco Plaza. In New York City they have scooped up the Exxon Building, the Algonquin Hotel and the vaultlike home of Tiffany & Co. They are beating the U.S. at everything from VCRs to semiconductors. And now they are trying to buy U.S. colleges.

In recent months Japanese businessmen and educators have quietly offered to bail out several financially strapped schools in return for control of their governing boards. The purpose: to expand study-abroad opportunities for Japanese university students. "The American higher-education system is the best in the world," says Julia Ericksen, vice provost of Philadelphia's Temple...

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