Japan is once again promoting higher education at a global scale, following the pandemic that caused a sharp decline in the number of Japanese students going abroad. In March 2023, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a plan to globalize Japanese education at a Council for the Creation of Future Education meeting. The announcement included the goal of sending a total of 500,000 Japanese students abroad by 2033, which is more than double the 222,000 goal set before COVID-19. With these ambitious objectives, American universities and colleges are well-positioned to take advantage of this new initiative set forth by the Government of Japan (GOJ).
The GOJ is further promoting exchange programs and partnerships at universities, while encouraging more Japanese students to take advantage of study abroad programs at their own academic institutions. In line with this idea, the GOJ has set the goal of increasing the number of universities that actively implement exchange programs with overseas partner universities. Currently, 48% of universities have exchange agreements with overseas universities, but the goal is to increase this figure to 80% by 2033. Japan also aims to increase the number of joint-degree programs from the current 27 to 50, and increase the number of double-degree programs from the current 349 to 800 by 2033.
Efforts to globalize education in Japan are expected to accelerate in the years ahead. According to the Council’s report, Japan currently has 16.0 students sent abroad per 1,000 students enrolled in Japanese higher education institutions. This figure is low compared to other countries, such as South Korea’s 33.5 students per 1,000 students, and the GOJ is determined to raise it. Despite the declining birthrate and aging population in Japan, there remain strong opportunities for American universities to engage in partnerships to increase the number of Japanese students to the U.S.
For more information about this market opportunity in Japan, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at Office.Tokyo@trade.gov