The Open University of Japan


Higher Education for All

About OUJ


The Open University of Japan (OUJ) was founded in 1983 by the Open University of Japan Foundation, under the auspices of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

It is an accredited educational institution open to all the people in Japan. OUJ utilizes broadcasting media and other means for new and effective ways to meet the needs for lifelong learning. The objectives of the Open University of Japan are to provide a wide range of people with opportunities for obtaining higher education and to promote broadcasting media and other innovative means of education for universities and other higher education institutions.

OUJ has grown to become the largest distance education institution in Japan. Taking advantages of terrestrial digital broadcasting and satellite broadcasting, OUJ provides effective broadcast lectures using vivid visuals in high-definition and information content developed by experts in the field.


①Provide university-level education widely to adult learners, as a lifelong learning institution.

②Ensure opportunities of university education for high school graduates.

③Be a pioneer of university education based on the latest research outcomes and educational technologies, in cooperation with other institutions, and contribute to improvement of university education in Japan.


Jun. 1981 The law permitting the establishment of the University of the Air Foundation was enacted
Jul. 1981 The University of the Air Foundation was established
Apr. 1983 The University of the Air (U-Air) was established
Apr. 1985 Undergraduate students were accepted and broadcasting lectures were started
Nov. 1987 U-Air joined the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU)
Apr. 1989 The first bachelor’s degree was awarded
Jan. 1998 Nationwide broadcasting over CS (communications satellite) digital broadcasting was launched
Oct. 1998 Students enrolled in undergraduate degree programs were accepted at Study Centers throughout Japan
Jan. 2000 U-Air joined the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) 
Apr. 2001 The School of Graduate Studies was established for Master's Degree
Apr. 2002 The School of Graduate Studies began accepting students and its broadcasting lectures were started
Mar. 2004 The first master’s degree was awarded
Dec. 2006 Terrestrial digital broadcasting service (the Kanto region only) was launched
Oct. 2007 U-Air was renamed as the Open University of Japan (OUJ)
Apr. 2009 Center of ICT and Distance Education (CODE) was established
Oct. 2011 Nationwide broadcasting over BS (Broadcast Satellite) digital broadcasting was launched
Mar. 2012 CS (communications satellite) digital broadcasting service was terminated
Apr. 2013 Center of ICT and Distance Education was reorganized as Center for Open Distance Education
Oct. 2014 Ph. D. Programs were installed to the School of Graduate Studies
Apr. 2015 Online course service was launched
Apr. 2017 Center for Open Distance Education was reorganized as Center for Online Education (COE)
Apr. 2018 Research Institute for Learning and Education Strategies (RILES) was established
Oct. 2018 BS new channel to offer a variety of programs was made available (Shifted from terrestrial digital broadcasting)
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