Stats Show Decline in International Student Enrollment in Japan

Japan Asia International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Mar 04, 2024


While the Japanese government aims to attract a total of 400,000 international students by 2033, the country faced a setback in 2022, experiencing a decline in student numbers.

Japan had a total of 231,146 international students in 2022, a 4.7 decrease from the previous year and the lowest enrollment number in about ten years, reports.

The vast majority of these students (72,047) were undergraduates enrolled at universities, according to the results of an international student survey by the Japan Student Services Organization JASSO.

This marks a 2.3 percent drop from the 2021 figure which stood at 73,715 undergraduate students, or 1,668 fewer students.

International student enrollment in Japan during 2022

The same survey found that most students in Japan come from elsewhere in Asia, with the leading countries of origin being China, Vietnam, Nepal, Korea, and Indonesia.

All these nations experienced a drop in students in Japan between 2021 and 2022, except Nepal, which saw an increase of almost 29 percent.

In 2022, Japan hosted 12,064 fewer students from Vietnam and 10,373 fewer Chinese students, a 24 and 9.1 percent decrease, respectively.

Country Number of students (2021) Number of students (2022)
China 114,255 103,882
Vietnam 49,469 37,405
Nepal 18,825 24,257
Korea 14,247 13,701
Indonesia 5,792 5,763

International student enrollment in Japan started declining amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to border restrictions. In 2019, the number of international students reached 310,000, but it has since experienced a decrease.

At a press conference in 2022, Education Minister Shinsuke Suematsu attributed the drop in international student numbers to extended border closure to control the spread of COVID-19.

“Because foreign students were unable to enter Japan for a period of time, the percentage of (foreign students) getting a job in Japan also declined, significantly affecting the country’s ability to secure talented workers,” a ministry report explained.

Between 2020 and 2021, the number of international students in Japan decreased by 13.2 percent, from 279,597 to 242,444 students, respectively.

Following this decline, the Japanese government intends to host more international students in the upcoming years and return to pre-pandemic levels. Last year, the Japanese government unveiled its new plans to have 400,000 international students by 2033.

Additionally, the government wants to increase the number of Japanese students abroad.

It has recently been reported that Japanese national universities are considering increasing tuition for international students following the government’s removal of the cap on such charges next month.

>> University of Tokyo to Launch Combined Bachelor’s & Master’s Program, Targets 50% Int’l Students

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