SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: January 23, 2023

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Various Institutions

Region & Country:Eastern Asia | Japan

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On January 23, 2023, eight universities in Japan temporarily closed after receiving bomb threats. At least 19 universities and hundreds of high schools received bomb threats and death threats via fax on the same day. 

Starting on January 23, bomb and death threats were faxed to about 300 high schools and higher education institutions. The threats reportedly came from the same Tokyo-based number and demanded ransom money and threatened to bomb or kill students and teachers if the demands were not met. Similar threats were made on January 24 to other universities and high schools. No explosives were reportedly found at the universities or high schools that received the threats. By January 26, most universities and high schools reopened. 

Scholars at Risk is concerned about threats aimed at intimidating members of the high education community and disrupting classes and campus life. Such actions undermine academic freedom and university autonomy. State and university authorities should take reasonable steps to respond to and prevent such attacks, including by investigating and holding perpetrators accountable.