International Students in Japan

Over the past 20 years, but particularly in the last decade, the number of international students studying in Japan has undergone an incredible leap. And that number is on the rise.
There are now close to 140,000 students from different countries around the world currently
undertaking courses in Japan at various institutions. For the majority of those students taking
undergraduate courses, the tuition language is Japanese. Typically, those students come to Japan and spend one to two years learning the Japanese language before entering an
undergraduate program. However, in recent years, there has been great growth in the number of programs for students without advanced-level Japanese, and now English-speaking students have considerable access to academic life in Japan. The number of firstclass schools and colleges offering a diversity of courses to meet the needs of non-Japanese students is expanding. Exciting options are available in the range of degree-granting programs that are taught entirely in English.

Among all the regions in the country, southwest Japan has a great deal to offer in the field of
education. In recent years, such institutions as Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), which is in the Kyushu city of Beppu, have introduced dramatic changes to the programs and courses they run for international students. Notable in this region is Kyushu University, located in Fukuoka and one of Japan’s most prestigious seats of higher education. The Japanese government has selected the 13 best universities in the country to participate in the Global 30 Project, offering a range of courses in a great variety of fields in English. Kyushu University is one of those 13 institutions, and it is in fact the third-most popular choice for foreign students – and the most popular university outside Tokyo. As of May 2011, there were 138,075 international students in Japan, of whom 20,265 were resident in southwest Japan. In 2008, Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) set the target of achieving the admission of over 300,000 international students to Japanese universities by 2020.