Prime Minister Fumio Kishida pledged to increase the number of international students in Japan to 400,000 and lift the figure for Japanese students studying abroad to 500,000 in 2033.
The plan is part of the government’s effort to send more Japanese students to the international arena while drawing and retaining overseas students to address the domestic labor shortage.
The initiative was announced on March 17 at a meeting of the government’s Council for the Creation of Future Education, which was chaired by the prime minister.
International travel is returning to levels before the COVID-19 pandemic, and global competition to attract skilled labor is heating up.
The Japanese government noted that some countries grant work visas to foreign students who graduate from the top universities in those nations.
Other countries provide their own students greater opportunities to study abroad.
The council will elaborate on the plan in a proposal to be compiled in April.
In 2008, Japan set a goal of having 300,000 international students enrolled in the country by 2020. The target was reached in 2019, when the number hit 310,000.
Meanwhile, 220,000 Japanese students were studying abroad before the pandemic hit.