Fewer and fewer Japanese students find studying overseas enticing as shown by declining figures, a trend that is due to the country’s sluggish economy, the education ministry said.
The number of Japanese studying abroad in 2011 declined for the seventh consecutive year at 57,501, down 559 from the previous year and 31 percent lower than its peak in 2004.
An official from the education ministry said the downturn was apparently a reflection of an economic slowdown, pointing that the drop-off rate was particularly high for the United States and other western countries, where the costs of studying are high.
The United States hosts the largest number of Japanese international students with 19,966. China receives 17,961 Japanese students, while Britain takes in 3,705 students. The ministry said it was aiming to increase the number of international students to 120,000 by 2020.
There are 135,519 foreign students in Japan as of May 2013, down 2,237 from the previous year, according to the Japan Students Services Organization. Surprisingly, Chinese nationals accounted for 81,884 of foreign students in Japan, followed by 15,304 from South Korea and 6,290 from Vietnam.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: “Graduations Spring 2009 24” by Ken Lee/Flickr