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Japan is losing its credibility among international students as a study destination, which could impact the country’s ability to attract talented individuals.

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Osaka University Prof Sachihiko Kondo. The number of international students coming to Japan to study has plummeted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Some international students who had hoped to enroll in courses in Japan have even changed their study destinations because of Japan’s strict entry restrictions.

© Yomiuri Shimbun

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I mean, pandemic is definitely a problem because of visa. Also the horror stories of Japanese companies and society's biases and discrimination about women does not help either in attracting high level students.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And this is the reason japan lagging behind all nations, somedqy even south korea will overpass japan... Let it be a hermit kingdom

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

rainy day: "Its not that simple, moving the entire education system like that - from kindergarten to university - would be massively disruptive in any country, not just Japan."

The longer it takes to start, the harder it gets. And it's not that difficult at all, and even Abe was somewhat on board with talks for it since Corona had disrupted the school year anyway. But, as you have done here, the old guys in power just prefer to say the Japanese public is SO stupid, unwilling to change, and incapable of adapting that they simply must keep it as it is. You really should have more faith in the Japanese. Come on... how would it hurt things, honestly? At WORST, the nation would have to have an extra school season, like they basically have with corona and cutting holidays as a result, or else lose the better part of one year. After that, it's done.

"I honestly don't think it makes sense to go to all that trouble just to align with what American university schedules look like."

It's not just the US, my friend, but most of the world that operates this way. And the article is about a drop in enrollment, and one reason Japanese schools ALWAYS lament and talk about is the difference in school years being a MAJOR factor. Kinki Daigaku and other schools have been pushing to change the school year for quite a while, because having it in line with most other nations would increase enrollment, increase overseas exchanges for students going abroad from Japan, and also would increase investment.

But nope... you guys think the public is just too plain dumb, and that we need to see the cherry blossoms around the time of entrance ceremonies because that's what old people remember.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Globalization is ending, so no need to live and work overseas. There will be some rough times ahead for all the G8 countries, since they are all bankrupt.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It isn't just students, workers are also banned from entering. Effectively everyone is banned from entering unless they are Japanese or have a Japanese spouse

Not exactly true.

If you are a PR, whatever or not married to a Japanese. And some people, after hardship, have been able to come back to join their foreign spouse here. It is difficult anyway and they have to be patient.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I came to Japan from the US twice as an international student. The first time as an exchange student in university, and the second time as a Monbusho scholarship student to do my graduate studies. Both were great experiences. I feel bad for those many students waiting to get into Japan and get on with their experiences. There might be some students who come to Japan to work, but my guess is more for the training programs than university programs. Not knocking that either though. Everyone has their own dream.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ShinkansenCabooseToday  07:30 pm JST

America’s big mistake is training tons of PhD Chinese candidates and making it hard for them to stay in America. Give them green cards with the PhD diplomas.

What? They can and many do get green cards, however many return to China after staying for a while. They have to start their own companies though, since there is great reluctance in the US to hire Chinese.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr KiplingToday 06:21 am JST

I get to meet a lot of international students in Japan. The ONLY reason they come here is the grants and scholarships they get from the Japanese government.

Just to clarify. I'm not saying they come to Japan only to get money. The ones I meet are very good, dedicated students from top universities. They come to Japan because Japan offers the scholarships to study in Japan.

Almost all would prefer to be somewhere else.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There seem to be an avalanche of ranking-sites on the topic, so not sure if this one is as valid as I may have thought it to be...

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/japan

Tokyo U ranking at #73 and Kyoto U at #125...

Those rankings use methodologies that are heavily skewed in favor of universities in English speaking countries. The entire top 25 of that one is solely made up of universities in such countries, which suggests what they are measuring is less the quality of universities internationally and more just how similar they are to American universities. They are opaque about the details of their methodologies, but one often mentioned way is to only count Research published in English when calculating that part of the score, which immediately inflates the scores of universities in the Anglo world while arbitrarily penalizing those everywhere else.

Even using it though, there are only four universities in all of Asia which outrank Todai.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If they don’t stay here after graduating, why support them? America’s big mistake is training tons of PhD Chinese candidates and making it hard for them to stay in America. Give them green cards with the PhD diplomas.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Tokyo U ranking at #73 and Kyoto U at #125...

But, within Japan, if you graduated from one of those schools, especially the former, you're an "elite", who can practically write your own ticket to job at any top-tier company in Japan. SMH.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It’s much more important, that the Japanese students are enabled and encouraged to study at those local universities or international ones and then can show what they have learned. Probably it’s only a nice international imjage or flair, but most of the foreign students only take some advantages here and then leave again. That’s finally not bringing more research results, innovations and new products here, so that they could save or generate jobs or to be sold on global markets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There seem to be an avalanche of ranking-sites on the topic, so not sure if this one is as valid as I may have thought it to be...

https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/japan

Tokyo U ranking at #73 and Kyoto U at #125...

The question is first and foremost "why" coming to study to Japan? I would say language and potentially to look for a job here afterwards, hoping that the time spent in a Japanese university helps out.

Now, why not coming to Japan? Err...(again) the language maybe?

As my experience goes, I only know of one friend who, 25 years ago, did come to Japan after a few years of studies in the US. He wanted to "make it in Japan" after graduation. He didn't and went back home. He made it actually pretty well over there. He actually met his future wife here and comes back with her on a regular basis, so no hard feelings.

I also recall a documentary piece on (I think) the NHK 2-3 years ago about the "brain-drain" of Japanese scientists leaving the country for other shores.

2 interviewees stood out:

.one 70-80 years old scientist who was pushed out of his university due to his age, but who still wanted to do some research. He got an offer in China. Now he has: his lab, his team, a super-deluxe penthouse apartment (with pool) and more cash that he ever saw in his life. Zero regrets...

.a young researcher, hopelessly underfunded, pretty busy to try to make ends of his research meet by actually putting some of his own money on the table to do so. He was dreaming about going to the US...

I think it was around the time that the government was up and roaring about that minpaku-business thingy. Watching the documentary made me feel (once more) that the government had all its priorities wrong...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

The number of international students coming to Japan to study has plummeted...

Makes it sound like some kind of accident. The fact is, students, with student visas, have been banned from entering Japan by the Japanese government in some weird belief that these people, fully vaccinated and with negative tests, pose some kind of virus threat.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I get to meet a lot of international students in Japan. The ONLY reason they come here is the grants and scholarships they get from the Japanese government.

This is accurate for some students in some programs but it doesn't reflect the whole picture.

With a lot of programs at some universities its true that they really are only able to exist thanks to scholarship, mostly from the Japanese government.

But most universities and the Ministry of Education have recognized how unsustainable that is over the long term and over the past decade or so have moved away from that model towards programs that rely on fee-paying students rather than scholarships. This is particularly the case with undergraduate education.

The top Japanese universities (former Imperial universities and the leading private unis) definitely aren't as attractive as Harvard, Yale, etc for the very very top end students who can get into those insittutions, but they do have some competetive advantages over universities in the US/UK/Australia, etc.

One is that the tuition here is significantly lower than in those countries, international students pay the same as domestic students.

Another is that while top Japanese universities aren't famous in the US or Europe, they are really well known in neighboring countries in Asia and so they do offer a certain "prestige" factor to students from those countries.

A third is that Japan is geographically closer, which is a factor for students, and its also viewed as a relatively "safe" destination.

They also have a few things going against them, but the top ones are finding a niche they can fill in the competition for international students that doesn't involve relying on scholarships.

Now, one thing that MIGHT help enrolment in Japan is if this professor went to the government and brought up, again, the idea of switching the school year to September, when the majority of school years in the world start, thereby making an easier transition for students going and coming from abroad. But nope... can't change the school year because that would "Confuse the Japanese people", and the old people in politics, "Remember fondly the cherry blossoms in bloom at my opening ceremony, and it should stay that way!" (despite global warming causing them to have long since fallen before then).

Its not that simple, moving the entire education system like that - from kindergarten to university - would be massively disruptive in any country, not just Japan. I honestly don't think it makes sense to go to all that trouble just to align with what American university schedules look like.

Plus, Japanese universities have been able to get around this issue by having their international programs start in the fall term (unlike domestic ones that start in the spring), bringing them into pretty close alignment with start dates in the US anyway.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I have never heard a single person in my life say they wanted to come to Japan to study (at school) because the school has a good reputation. I know many, though, who said they wanted to come to Japan and study Japanese, and experience life here, and the easiest way to do that was to pay to attend a school here. Ergo, there never was much reputation to begin with. What's more, a lot of countries are suffering through this crisis... it's not something any one nation can do, unless it's being suggested Japan cut corners on keeping the virus at bay in order to attract more foreign students while other nations are still quarantining and what not.

Now, one thing that MIGHT help enrolment in Japan is if this professor went to the government and brought up, again, the idea of switching the school year to September, when the majority of school years in the world start, thereby making an easier transition for students going and coming from abroad. But nope... can't change the school year because that would "Confuse the Japanese people", and the old people in politics, "Remember fondly the cherry blossoms in bloom at my opening ceremony, and it should stay that way!" (despite global warming causing them to have long since fallen before then).

5 ( +9 / -4 )

I disagree. Japan has never attracted talented individuals because of their talent, but rather because of the language or fulfilling some dream about Japan (usually anime, music, manga, geisha, people in kimonos on the streets,...). While we do have educated people and a pretty good education system, our education system was left standing some 40-50 years ago and has been standing still ever since. Critical thinking, independent invention, etc. Those are things that don't really fit here. And another obstacle is that universities here, like the country, revel in paperwork and mountains of paperwork and pointless filing of things that no one is interested in anyway. So a lot of students prefer to take the more direct and efficient option of studying elsewhere. In the case of students in EU countries, this is obvious. Another thing is that instead of local universities reciprocally recognizing various documents of other universities, everything has to be converted somehow, etc.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

What stimuli to intellectual matters has Japan to offer ? Most Japanese Nobel prized work outside Japan. It says it all.

USA is appealing for that matter, even with Europeans more and more.

Japan is simply too conservative and has been closing like an oyster for some time now.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Disagree with the professor.

Japan has never attracted top talent.

Japan has been attractive to language teachers (more so in the past) and 3rd World cheap labor.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

The conditions about entry restriction are almost the same for many other countries.

Japan's higher education services are already oversupply due to rapid shortfall of young population. Many have been dependent on incoming foreign students (in vain). It's time to downsize or overhaul university systems to upgrade service quality.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Assuming it is true that most people entering Japan on student visas are actually just trying to work...why is this a bad thing? If Japan doesn't need their labor, then why has this been going on? If Japanese people want these low-skilk jobs, then surely they can get them.

As long as they are vaccinated or quarantined and get a negative disease test, they should be allowed to enter. All workers who are waiting to enter should be allowed under these conditions.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Mr Kipling is talking about the students he's met, you can literally see that in his comment so stop getting in a twist over your personal reasons.

I have also met a lot of international students and most of them would not be able to afford the tuition anyway so I think it's safe to say they wouldn't have come otherwise.

Japanese undergraduate studies are not particularly demanding beyond attendance though and a lot work on convenience stores and other basic jobs. The amount they are allowed to work is phenomenal compared to other countries too so it does seem like a backdoor guest worker program

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

It isn't just students, workers are also banned from entering. Effectively everyone is banned from entering unless they are Japanese or have a Japanese spouse

5 ( +8 / -3 )

In other words, don't put down someone else's studies unless you're at least their peer.

Not putting down anyone's studies... just stating facts. The international students I know couldn't come here WITHOUT the scholarship. Most would prefer to be in the US or UK IF the same scholarship was available there.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

I have been myself an international student, and benefited from a Monbugakusgo scholarship. I assure you, I came here not for the scholarship but for the research opportunities the university presented. I find people commenting negatively on this do it either out of stupidity or own under-performance fuelled jealousy. In other words, don't put down someone else's studies unless you're at least their peer.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

@Mr Kipling: The ONLY reason they come here is the grants and scholarships they get from the Japanese government.

Hey! I have been an international student. I received no grant, no scholarship; in fact it cost rather a lot of money. I assure you, there are other reasons why people come to Japan.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

I studied abroad here in college. Outside of learning Japanese, it wasn't worth much in terms of actual study.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

What international students…90% of these are from developing or underdeveloped Asian countries trying to work and get money to support their families back home under the disguise of student visas! This has always been the case as far as student from abroad are concerned in Japan! Japan needs these student workers to fill the gap of labor shortage in industries that the Japanese people don’t have any keen interest in.

1 ( +12 / -11 )

I get to meet a lot of international students in Japan. The ONLY reason they come here is the grants and scholarships they get from the Japanese government.

3 ( +11 / -8 )

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