Introduction Since the early 1980s, various social and economic changes have prompted the promotion of the education of non-traditional students in universities and other institutions of Japanese higher education. The greatest attention has been paid to those who, having left the school system, have had some work experience and then return to higher education. Numerous political measures aiming at aiding this type of non-traditional student have been implemented to increase their numbers rapidly. Changes and developments, however, have barely begun and there are many problems to be tackled.