Japan launches study abroad campaign

November 12, 2013

Japanís Education Ministry has launched a media campaign to encourage Japanese students to study abroad as part of a strategy to double the number of Japanese college and high school students studying overseas by 2020.

The logo for the Tobitate Ryugaku Japan study abroad campaign

Through the Tobitate! Ryugaku Japan campaign, the ministry will stage a series of promotional events in cooperation with prominent business people, sports stars and artists to highlight the value of pursuing educational opportunities abroad.

A special website has been launched featuring messages of support for the campaign, including from Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka and former New York Yankees baseball player Hideki Matsui, and will be updated with study abroad accounts and advice.

In line with the campaign, the ministry has requested JPY15.3 billion (US$153 million) from the fiscal 2014 budget to fund scholarships for overseas studies, an increase over JPY9.9 billion (US$99 million) in the current year. The ministry is also hoping to collect funds from the private sector to increase scholarships and study abroad opportunities.

At a news conference to launch the campaign, Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura said Japan needed to nurture more internationally minded talent. “I think hiring ‘global talents’ who have experienced studying abroad will benefit many firms. I hope that companies will regard (the value of studying overseas) as their own issue as well,” he told the Japan Times.

As previously reported, the Japanese government hopes to arrest a decline in the number of people studying abroad, and has a target of 120,000 college students and 60,000 high school students overseas by 2020, while at the same time increasing the number of international students in Japan.

Ryugaku Journal, a study abroad magazine in Japan produced by the study abroad agency of the same name, is a sponsor of the campaign. Executive Vice President Yukari Kato welcomed the promotion, and said that many Japanese youngsters were interested in overseas education but unsure of its value and nervous of failure.

“With this campaign, I believe, people may feel more optimistic by hearing the voices of people who know the value, and especially that something can be learned from trouble and failure. And more than that learn how valuable it is to meet other people, to know other cultures and to find oneself,” she said.

“In the media, people will talk about studying abroad and tell how important it is for their future, and young people and their parents will get interested. So we hope this campaign has a positive impact on our industry,” she added.

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