Japan’s Globalization Plan in the Works

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More than ten (10) years ago, the government of Japan envisioned a globalization plan to open up their doors to the rest of the world by expanding the country’s circulation of people, goods, money, and information from the different parts of the world. To accomplish this grand design, the government of Japan aimed to increase the number of outstanding foreign students to three hundred thousand (300,000) by the year 2020.


Fast forward to the present time, a report from the education ministry of Japan recorded two hundred ninety eight thousand nine hundred eighty (298,980) international students studying in Japan in 2018, an astounding twelve (12) percent increase from the year 2017. While it appears that the government of Japan may have achieved its goal earlier than expected, a closer look at the relevant data may reveal otherwise.


A commentary from Japan Times announced that around ninety five (95) percent of the total number of international students in Japan are composed of students from the different countries of Asia. In addition, almost forty (40) percent or about one hundred fourteen thousand nine hundred fifty (114,950) are students from the country of China. On the other hand, students from the western and northern parts of the world such as Europe and the United States only make up less than four (4) percent of the total number of international students in Japan. In this regard, students from other parts of the world are still needed before the globalization plan of Japan could be truly realized.


As discussed by a distinguished professor at Shiga University, another factor that needs to be considered is that around ninety thousand (90,000) of the total foreign students are enrolled only for Japanese learning schools. Most of these students reportedly work part-time in convenience stores, hotels/lodging facilities, bars/restaurants, and construction sites. This certainly hinders the globalization plan since the main priority of these students appears to be earning a living instead of contributing intellectually to the development of Japan.


Finally, this professor at Shiga University likewise discussed that foreign students make up more than forty (40) percent of the total number of students aspiring for higher education in Japan. Moreover, foreign students who wish to study abroad reportedly perceive Japanese universities either as their second choice or as a stepping stone to get into graduate schools in other parts of the world. If this trend keeps up, a considerable number of universities in Japan may face possible extinction.


Reference: Foreign student numbers don’t tell whole tale


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