Number of International Students in Japan Increases

Japan Asia International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 24, 2024


After dropping amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of international students in Japan recovered in 2023, increasing by 20.8 percent, according to a recent survey. Nonetheless, international student enrollment in the country remains below pre-pandemic levels.

The survey by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) released on Friday shows international student numbers in Japan totaled 279,274 as of May 1, 2023. That is an increase of 48,128 students, or 20.8 percent from 2022, reports.

Among these, a total of 188,555 international students enrolled in Japanese higher education institutions in 2023, up from 181,741 in 2022.

“Of these, the number of international students enrolled in higher education institutions was 188,555 (an increase of 6,814 (3.7 percent)). The number of international students enrolled in Japanese language institutions was 90,719 (an increase of 41,314 (83.6 percent)),” the JASSO report points out.

Figures show that more than 80,000 were university undergraduates, while 1,955 and 501 students attended Junior Colleges and Colleges of Technology, respectively.

During the same period, the number of international students at language schools in Japan reached an all-time high of 90,719. Data indicate that of the 279,274 students, 55,539 attended graduate schools, 46,325 attended vocational schools or enrolled in specialized courses, while 3,873 students took preparatory classes.

China was the top source country of international students in Japan in 2023, sending 115,493 students, an 11 percent increase from the previous year when 103,882 Chinese students relocated to Japan to pursue education.

A large number of students also hailed from the following countries:

  • Nepal - 37,878 students
  • Vietnam - 36,339 students
  • South Korea - 14,946 students
  • Myanmar - 7,773 students

Unlike other nationalities, there were fewer Vietnamese students in Japan in 2023 than in 2022, a drop of 2.8 percent within the period.

Japan aims to have 400,000 international students by 2033, according to a plan by the Council for the Creation of Future Education in the Cabinet Secretariat.

JASSO survey results also revealed a significant increase in Japanese students studying abroad in recent years. Based on 2022 data, the number of Japanese students abroad increased five-fold in 2022 compared to a year earlier.

Most students headed to the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom in 2022.

Education institutions in Japan started experiencing a recovery in the number of international students in 2022 after a relaxation of COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2022.

However, according to JASSO, there were 231,146 international students in Japan in 2022, a 4.7 percent decline from a year earlier.

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