This article analyzes the development of the quality assurance system and changes in market forces in higher education in Japan. First, the article focuses on the function and impact of self-monitoring and self-evaluation systems as unique processes oriented towards decentralization and internal reflection. Second, the changes in market forces in higher education during rapid economic globalization are discussed. Third, the possibility of external evaluation by the National Institution for Academic Degrees is introduced as a bureaucratic approach to show accountability in the national university system. Finally, the relationship between the changes in the quality assurance system and the changes in market forces is addressed.