The number of Japanese who started studying abroad in fiscal 2020 plummeted by 98.6 per cent from the previous year to a record low of 1,487 due to the global nCovid-19 pandemic.
The latest figure released by the education ministry and other sources on March 30 marked the lowest since record-keeping began in fiscal 2003.
According to the ministry and other sources, the number of Japanese studying overseas was on the rise before the pandemic, setting a record high of 115,146 in fiscal 2018 and tallying 107,346 the following year.
But the figure was nosedived in fiscal 2020 when the virus began spreading globally. The number of Japanese students fell by more than 90 per cent in almost all countries, including popular study destinations such as the United States, Australia and South Korea.
As of May 2021, 242,444 foreign students were studying in Japan, down 37,153, or 13.3 per cent, from a year earlier. The number of those studying at Japanese language schools dropped by 20,247, or 33.3 per cent, marking the largest decline among foreign students in the country.
The figure for those studying at Japanese universities and graduate schools fell only slightly by 6,905, or 5.1 per cent. A ministry official said the decline was low as many of them had entered Japan before the pandemic started.
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