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Number of students studying abroad increases for the first time in 8 years

  • 2015-03-02 15:00:00
  • , Nikkei
  • Translation

(Nikkei: February 28, 2015 – p. 42)


 Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) statistics released on Feb. 27 show that there were 60,138 Japanese studying abroad in 2012, representing an increase of 2,637 over the previous year and the first increase in eight years. There is now higher interest in studying abroad due to economic globalization, and MEXT reckons that there has been some improvement in young people’s “inward-looking mentality.” The government has set a goal of doubling the number of Japanese students abroad to 120,000 by 2020 and is offering support by providing more scholarships and so forth.


 The MEXT statistics concern mostly students on long-term programs to earn academic degrees. The ministry compiled data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and figures released by various countries on foreign students. Until 2011, the number of Japanese studying abroad had declined for seven consecutive years from its peak in 2004 (82,945).


 In 2012, students studying in China increased by 18% from the previous year to 21,126. This was the first time that Japanese students in China had exceeded those studying in the U.S. since statistics were taken in 1983, and China is now the country that hosts the most number of Japanese students. This is followed by the U.S. at 19,568, representing a drop of 2%; the UK at 3,633 (-2%); Taiwan, 3,097 (+8%); and Germany, 1,955 (+5%).


 Studying in Western countries is now less popular while studying in East Asian countries has gained in popularity.


 Meanwhile, the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) announced on Feb. 27 the number of foreign students in Japanese universities and educational institutions as of May 2014. The total number is 139,185, representing an increase of 2.7% over the previous year. (Abridged)

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