International student up in Japan

04, March, 2015

The number of international students at higher education level in Japan returned to growth in 2014, while the language school sector increased long-term students by over a third, according to data released by the Japan Student Services Organisation (Jasso).

Waseda University, a private institution in Tokyo, is the largest host campus of international students in Japan

Higher education institutions had a total of 139,184 international students enrolled as of May 2014, a 2.7 per cent increase compared with the previous year’s figure of 135,519, and the second highest total ever recorded behind the peak year of 2010. The rise at higher education level follows three consecutive years of declines.

The number of international student at Japanese language institutes on student visas increased by 37.8 per cent – from 32,626 in 2013 to 44,970 in 2014.

The total number of international students increased by 16,010 to 184,155, comfortably the highest figure recorded in the four years since Jasso began including language institute data.

The largest individual source market increase came from Vietnam, which grew by 91 per cent to reach 26,439 students and became the second largest sender country. There was also substantial growth from Nepal, which rose by 79.9 per cent to 10,448 students, while Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar all recorded double-digit percentage increases.

China remains the largest source country at 94,399 students across all levels, but declined by 3.6 per cent; Korea, second in 2013, declined by 8.7 per cent to 15,777 students.

Japan remains heavily dependent on Asia for international students at higher education level, with the continent accounting for 91.5 per cent of students in 2014 – a very slight reduction compared with the previous year. However, reliance on China was weakened, with the Chinese market share dropping from 60.4 per cent to 55.9 per cent.

Sheng-Hsiang Sean Shih, Marketing Director of CanFly Education Agency in Taiwan, said bookings for Japan doubled to around 4,000 in 2014. He added that the working holiday visa route was also a popular option for many Taiwanese students.

Tina Chung at Envision agency, also in Taiwan, said the data represented part of a growing trend of intra-Asia study. “The Taiwanese student market is traditionally US orientated, but there is growing interest in other Asian countries because of the postgraduate job market.” Japan has made more generous post-study work opportunities over recent years and saw a record number of international students staying to work in 2013

Within the higher education breakdown by institution type, there was strong growth in the private professional training college sector, with an extra 4,641 students in 2014. Beyond the full-time statistics, there were an additional 12,774 students pursuing short-term academic or exchange programmes at higher education institutions in 2014, an increase of around 1,000 students compared with the previous year.

For language institutes, all of the top ten source markets increased with the exception of Korea. China was the most dominant nationality with 16,607 students, followed by Vietnam on 15,265.

Japan announced ambitious plans in 2008 to reach 300,000 international students by 2020, and has implemented a number of policies including the Global 30 project, providing funding for a group of Japanese universities to increase recruitment and expand their portfolio of English-delivered courses. 





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