A record-high 2,147 students from overseas studied at Japanese high schools for a period of three months or longer in fiscal 2015, rebounding from a sharp drop in the wake of a triple disaster in 2011, the education ministry said Tuesday.
The roughly biennial survey by the ministry on high schools nationwide showed the number of overseas students was up 482 from fiscal 2013 to hit the highest level since the ministry began collecting comparable data in fiscal 1992. The survey itself began in fiscal 1986.
The number of Japanese students who studied abroad for three months or longer also rose to 4,197, up 300 from the previous survey, according to the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
The figure of students from abroad has recovered following a sharp decline in fiscal 2011, after a major earthquake and tsunami hit eastern Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering nuclear meltdowns at a Fukushima power plant.
The ministry said it believes the state’s promotion of educational trips to Japan and municipal governments’ international exchange programs have helped increase the number of foreign students.
By country and region, students from China accounted for the largest group of 873, followed by the United States at 173, Thailand at 134, Germany at 131, Australia at 106 and South Korea at 81.
Among the Japanese students going abroad, the United States was the most popular destination with 1,245 students studying there, followed by New Zealand with 833, Canada with 791, Australia with 515, and Britain with 131.
The number of Japanese students who studied for periods shorter than three months significantly decreased to 31,645, down 6,507 from fiscal 2013, reflecting suspensions of study-abroad programs by schools and education boards following terror attacks in Europe and elsewhere, the ministry said.