In 1997, approximately 47,000 Japanese studied at U.S. institutions of higher education, making Japan the top "sending country" of international students to the United States. Over the last 18 years, however, that number has declined by nearly 60 percent to just under 20,000, and Japan has slipped in the rankings to become the seventh sending country, far behind regional neighbors like China and the Republic of Korea. To address this issue, President Obama and Prime Minister Abe during their April 2014 summit in Tokyo endorsed a goal to double the number of bilateral exchanges between both countries by 2020.
The Japanese Government has launched major initiatives and scholarships to promote the internationalization of its universities and their students. The Abe Administration has proposed a series of education reforms to prepare Japan for the 2020 Olympics and nurture its future workforce to become global citizens. Suggested reforms include moving compulsory English classes from 5th and 6th grade to start as early as 3rd grade and making TOEFL a potential entry requirement for university admissions.
Two initiatives of interest include:
Super Global Universities: The Japanese Government has allocated $77 million USD (to be distributed over 10 years) for selected universities and designated specific funding to recruit international students, hire diverse faculty members, and encourage study abroad.
Tobitate! Ryugaku Japan: The Japanese Ministry of Education launched a new program to double the number of youths studying abroad in 2014. The Ministry wants to increase the number of college students studying abroad from about 60,000 in 2010 to 120,000 by 2020. For high school students, the Ministry aims to raise the number from 30,000 in 2010 to 60,000 by 2020. Corporate sponsors and government funding will allow for financial aid to be provided to selected students.
FCS is fortunate to have a Tobitate First Cycle participant as a former intern.
Please see below for an interview of former FCS Intern Megumi Yoshinaga.
How we can help you
The Commercial Service can assist U.S. educational institutions and/or related agents/companies in entering the Japanese Market. We work in close coordination with our State Department colleagues in the Public Affairs Section.
We also have fee based services that may be of interest.
Please see below for reference reports compiled on the Education Sector.
For those interested in English Language related business opportunities in Japan, please reference the following report.
Department of Commerce Education Industry Page
For additional information, please contact Educational Sector Specialist, Kazuko Tsurumachi at Kazuko.Tsurumachi@trade.gov or Osaka based Educational Specialist Tetsuko Fujioka at Tetsuko.Fujioka@trade.gov.