People-to-People Exchange

October 13, 2023

In order to solidify our mutual understanding and friendship with foreign countries, it is extremely important for young people, the leaders of tomorrow, to engage in international exchange programs. In particular, student exchange programs have various important aspects, such as promoting friendship and understanding between Japan and other countries, internationalizing Japanese higher educational institutions, revitalizing local communities and businesses, as well as fostering human resources who will carry the future of developing countries. From this standpoint, Japan promotes students exchange programs by welcoming international students coming from around the world to study in Japan and by encouraging Japanese youths to study abroad.

1. Intake of foreign students

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), the governing body for education in Japan, and other ministries, provides wide-ranging services for international students. This includes providing Study in Japan information, assistance for former international students and others.

2. Accepting International Students

(1) Provision of Study in Japan information

Overseas missions of Japan act as major source of information for potential international students. They provide individual consultations and hold Study in Japan information sessions which may cover Japanese Government Scholarship, university and college information, and other general information regarding life as a student in Japan. Information about studying in Japan is also available on the website, “STUDY in JAPANOpen a New Window”.

(2) Recruiting and screening of Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship Students

At present, prospective students from about 190 countries and regions interested in obtaining Japanese Government Scholarship can apply to Japan’s overseas missions where the initial screening process is conducted to be shortlisted for final selections procedure by MEXT in Japan.

(3) Pre-departure orientation

Overseas missions provide pre-departure orientation for Japanese Government Scholarship students about travel to Japan.

(4) Stay in Japan

MOFA provides support to cultural exchange programs and other international student support programs conducted by local governments and private entities. In addition, cultural exchange and support for Japanese Government (MEXT) Scholarship students from ASEAN countries are conducted through ASJA International.

3. Support for Returning Students

The international students who have completed their studies in Japan are expected to use their experience to play active roles in their home countries and beyond. They serve as a valuable bridge between Japan and their home countries, and thereby contribute to deepening the understanding of Japan and friendly relationships between Japan and other countries. MOFA, through its overseas missions, provides support for organizing alumni associations of such former international students and further for their activities and functions, in order to ensure the ties between the former students and Japan and to foster supporters and experts of Japan. There are 226 Japan alumni associations of the former international students in 120 countries with a total of more than110,000 members. (as of January 2023). In this regard, MOFA holds Japan Alumni Conference in Japan in which representatives of Japan alumni associations around the world participate. This conference is held with the objectives of sharing good practices and challenges that each association faces, and strengthening networks among Japan alumni associations through panel discussions, etc.

4. Promotion of Japanese students to study abroad

There is a global trend in demand for talented individuals who can take an active part in the ever globalizing world with valuable skills in foreign language and intercultural understanding. For this reason, MOFA with MEXT and other ministries encourages Japanese students to study abroad.

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