Japan’s National Universities to Increase Number of International Students

Japan’s Education Ministry is planning to increase the number of international students who will be permitted to pursue studies at the country’s national universities in the 2022 academic year.

The Ministry’s plan to increase the number of overseas students intends to attract more international students who could help in improving universities research capabilities, to gain international recognition as well as to assure universities’ financial stability, Erudera College News reports.

National universities will receive a notice from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology that the increase is allowed by next summer. In addition, tuition fees for international students could also be discussed.

However, an increase of international students without a limit in the 2022 academic year, raises concerns over a possible lack of enough teachers and classrooms. In order to avoid this, the Ministry said it would review the level of enrollments in advance.

Prior to increasing the number, the current rules in the country require a university to initially apply to the Council for University Establishment and School Corporation, which will inspect whether the increase is suitable.

Japan has been facing a decrease in population aged 18 since 1990. At that time, the Ministry decided to not allow an increase in enrollments at national universities, only for the special cases, with the argument that it would harm the finances of private universities. 

Whereas, since the 2005 academic year, the number of enrollments at all national universities across Japan has reached nearly 96,000 enrollments.

In the 2019 academic year, there were almost 13,070 students pursuing studies at national universities or about 3 per cent of the total number of students. On the other hand, at private universities, this percentage was 3.7 per cent.

World University Rankings 2021, published by Times Higher Education in September have shown that only two universities in Japan have ranked in the top 200.

  1. The University of Tokyo ranked 36th.
  2. Kyoto University ranked 54th.

For that reason, among the government’s goals is to have at least 10 universities listed in the top 100 by 2023.

Another plan of the Ministry is to liberalize the tuition fees for international students at national universities, which at the moment reach the amount of ¥535,800 for both domestic and international students.

Most of the international students pursuing studies in Japan during the 2019 academic year were nationals of:

  • China, 41.2 per cent
  • Vietnam, 19.8 per cent
  • Nepal, 8.2 per cent
  • South Korea, 7 per cent
  • Taiwan at 3.3 per cent

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