The number of Japanese students studying abroad in fiscal 2020 dived 98.6% from a year earlier to 1,487, a survey showed on March 30, Wednesday, as strict border controls amid the coronavirus pandemic forced many students to cancel or postpone their study plans.
The survey also showed the number of foreign students enrolling at universities, Japanese language schools and other educational institutions in Japan as of May 2021 fell 13.3% from a year earlier to 242,444. Of the total, 9.1% or 21,945 students could not come to Japan and had to study online.
The survey conducted by the Japan Student Services Organization found the number of Japanese studying abroad hit a record low in fiscal 2020, which ended in March 2021, and logged the largest drop since comparable data became available in fiscal 2009.
It covered students from Japanese universities and other institutions. Those who entered universities overseas directly after graduating from high school in Japan and students taking online classes at schools abroad were excluded.
As for destinations, South Korea ranked first with 265 Japanese students, down 6,970 from the previous year, followed by the United States at 240, down 17,898, and Canada at 189, down 9,135.
Among foreign students studying in Japan, Chinese made up the largest group at 114,255, down 7,590 from the previous year, followed by Vietnam at 49,469, down 12,764, according to the data.
The number of international students at universities in Japan fell 16,906 to 201,877, while the figure at Japanese language schools was down 20,247 to 40,567, the survey showed.
“We expect the (coronavirus) infection situation to improve and international travel to resume. We will work to provide information and other support to students,” an education ministry official said.
The government also intends to further ease border control measures to increase the number of international students.
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