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The "300000 Foreign Students Plan" Campaign

Interview【Published in 2010】

The number of foreign students coming to Japan to study currently numbers approximately 140,000. As the international movement of students at the level of higher education is expected to increase even more on a global scale, there has been much discussion carried out in various quarters - using a variety of concepts and numerical values - on how Japan should go about accepting foreign students since the 100000 Foreign Students Plan was achieved in 2003.

The "300000 Foreign Students Plan" was announced by former Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in his Policy Speech to the 169th Session of the Diet (January 2008) as being important in order to make Japan a country that is more open to the world and to expand the flow of people to and from Japan.

Regarding "300,000" as being the number of foreign students accepted in Japan, there is a need to consider this by comparing it with several different circumstances, such as the number of foreign students being accepted by other countries and the current number of foreign students being accepted here in Japan.

It is said that there is currently a total of 3.5 million students enrolled in Japanese institutions of higher education, such as universities. While the overall number is on a downward trend with the decline in the Japanese population under age 18, there is an increase, at the same time, in the rate of those advancing to higher education, etc. For such reasons, it can be assumed that the number of those enrolled in Japanese institutions of higher education will continue to remain at roughly 3 million in the future.

Meanwhile, if we look at the current state of foreign student enrollment in other countries, we see that in the case of Germany, a developed non-English-speaking nation like Japan, foreign students account for 12.3% of all students enrolled in an institution of higher education. In France, foreign students account for 11.9% of all students in an institution of higher education. (Meanwhile, foreign students in an English-speaking nation account for, in the case of the UK, 25.1% of all students in higher education, and likewise 26.2% in Australia.)

If Japanese institutions of higher education are to secure a level of foreign student enrollment similar to that of other developed nations, there is a need to increase the percentage of foreign students from the current 3 percent-plus to a percentage close to that of Germany or France, or about 10%. (In other words, 10% of 3 million students, which is roughly equal to 300,000.)

There is also a report that says the global foreign student market will rapidly expand in the future. This report estimates that the number of foreign students worldwide will be at about 5 million in 2015, increasing to 7 million by 2025.

Foreign students in Japan currently account for about 5% of all foreign students worldwide. If we suppose that the number of all foreign students in 2020, the midway point in the report, is 6 million, then Japan would need to accept about 300,000 foreign students in order to maintain its current share.

I think you can see, from these two numerical situations alone, the importance of this number - 300,000 - as being the target for foreign student acceptance by institutions of higher education in Japan; that is, if they are to play a role similar to one played by institutions of higher education in other countries.

We believe that proactive acceptance of foreign students, who become a major source of high-level human resources, by Japanese institutions of higher education, leads not only to the reinforcement of Japan's international human resource pool but also builds human networks between Japan and other countries, enhances mutual understanding and fosters greater amicable relationships, and contributes to global stability and world peace.

An environment that is further conducive to study in Japan by foreign students is being prepared through this plan. We hope that even more students from your country will come to Japan to study in the future.

Let us tell you the story behind the production of this logo.

The concept for this logo was discussed by a committee of related parties that was comprised of those from ministries, agencies, universities and other organizations involved with foreign students as well as key figures. Foreign students were also asked questions such as, "What do you think of when you hear the word 'Japan'?" "What color do you think of when you think about Japan?" in questionnaires or shown several printed materials and asked which one they liked the most. Several designers then submitted many draft designs on the basis of the results of these questionnaires and the concept decided by the committee.

Candidate logos were then chosen after undergoing several screening processes, with the final logo design chosen on the basis of ballots cast by current foreign students in Japan.
We are confident that this logo will help communicate to potential foreign students in various countries the appeal of studying in Japan. We are also happy to report that the main persons appearing in these posters, leaflets and DVD are current or former study-in-Japan students. Perhaps you will find someone that you know in them!

Please check these posters, leaflets and DVD(in 11 languages)out at a Japanese embassy or consulate general near you. Leaflets have been produced in eight languages (English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Korean, French, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese). A large number have been made, so please do make use of them as you see fit. For further information, please contact a Japanese embassy or consulate near you. We are sure that you will see the birth of new study-in-Japan "kohai" through the utilization of these materials.

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