“News 23,” TBS’s weekday evening news show, aired an eight-minute report on the decline in the number of Japanese students studying abroad. According to Education Ministry statistics, the number had dropped to 55,350 in 2013 from 82,945 in 2004. The network said that the Japanese government is concerned that young Japanese are becoming inward-looking. The government has set a goal of increasing the number of schools adopting the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program to 200 in 2020 from the current 42 to bolster English education in Japan to increase the number of Japanese who can play active roles globally. The program highlighted Tamagawa Academy in Tokyo, one of the IB schools, quoting one of its students as saying that the IB program is challenging but beneficial for him.
The program delved into the reasons behind the declining number of Japanese students studying abroad. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies Professor Akito Okada commented that steep tuition and living costs are the major obstacles preventing Japanese students from studying abroad. The broadcaster commented that deteriorating public security and racial discrimination in foreign nations are another sources of concern for Japanese students. Okada stressed the need for additional support from both the public and private sectors in the form of scholarships, for example, to increase the number of Japanese students studying abroad. Pointing out that the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. increased to 328,547 in 2015 from 62,582 in 2005 while that of Japanese students had dropped to 19,060 from 38,712, the network expressed agreement with the scholar’s view.