As borders reopen, ministry resets foreign student target

Japan’s education ministry has said it is stepping up efforts to bring the number of international students enrolled in Japanese universities back up to the pre-pandemic level of over 300,000 students, as well as boosting the number of Japanese students going overseas within the next five years.

On 23 June the ministry released a report by an expert panel restating the importance of international students to Japan. The report, Proposal for Global Policy on Higher Education, pointed out that foreign students play a crucial role in the globalisation of Japanese universities and provide skilled talent in an ageing society that is expected to see a drop in worker numbers in the future.

A ministry survey of Japanese businesses, reported in Japan Times, a leading news daily, pointed to a lack of engineers, particularly civil, mechanical, electrical and communication network engineers, as well as hardware and software programmers in the country.

Eiji Watanabe, in charge of university internationalisation at the ministry, explained that the acceptance of foreign students will continue but will follow recommendations from the expert panel which calls for a strategy to target particular regions and countries to attract students, and specific fields of study.

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