Japan Association of Nursing Programs in Universities (JANPU) was launched in 1975 by volunteers teaching at six universities with nursing programs. For the next decade, the association was run by 11 universities, but in the late 1990s, membership increased with the establishment of a law promoting the securing of human resources such as nurses. As of 2017, JANPU has 265 member universities.
In 2010, JANPU made the transition from volunteer organization to being certified as a general incorporated association.
JANPU's objective is to promote the "enhancement and progress of nursing education and the improvement of academic research in this area through the alliance and cooperation of higher education facilities for nursing science, in order to contribute to the health and welfare of the people". (Article 2)
JANPU will carry out the following activities to achieve this objective:
JANPU is also committed to providing active support to areas devastated by the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and has set up the Disaster Support Committee to encourage cooperation between member universities.
"Nursing Programs in Universities" refers to four-year universities as well as certain educational institutions established by government ministries or agencies which provide providing curriculums that qualify students for national exams to become public health nurses, midwives, and registered nurses. (Article 7)
JANPU is made up of institutions which support the objective of the association and have been approved for membership by the association's board of directors.
Each member university appoints one researcher belonging to their nursing faculty/department/group as its representative to JANPU and these representatives serve as the staff of the association. JANPU has sub-organizations such as a general assembly, a board of directors, and committees made up of these representatives. The representative director is elected by the board.
Today, both university and graduate school education are facing a significant turning point in the area of nursing science. In 2010, "core hands-on nursing skills" and "goals to be reached by graduation" were established as reference criteria for bachelor programs in nursing science, urging nursing universities to establish a framework to ensure the quality of bachelor degrees in nursing science. The Second Phase Graduate School Education Promotion Measures established in August 2011 aim to ensure and improve the quality of graduate school education, focusing on providing information and engaging in dialogue with diverse communities inside and outside of Japan as well as enhancing roles of those completing graduate school.
In view of future needs, nursing universities are faced with the responsibility of fostering the next generation of nurses and researchers of nursing science. Furthermore, it is crucial for each and every nursing university educator to return to the roots of nursing education based on nursing science, and establish an educational framework which embodies the independent and unique nature of nursing science.