According to the Japan Student Services Organisation, 312,214 international students attended different Japanese educational institutions as of May 2019. This includes undergraduate and graduate schools, junior colleges, specialized training colleges, technical colleges and language schools.

Year Number of International Students in Japan
2019 312,214
2018 298,980
2017 267,042
2016 239,287
2015 208,379
2014 184,155

There was an 4.4% increase in the number of students coming to Japan between 2018 and 2019, successfully accomplishing the Japanese government’s “300,000 Foreign Students Plan” Campaign, which began in 2008 with the aim of doubling the number of foreign academics studying in Japan.

In 2016, only one third of the international students enrolled at a Japanese university stayed to live and work in the country after graduation. To tackle such situations, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry worked with other agencies to increase this number by helping students who hope to work in Japan after graduation (EX: providing expanded residency options of up to one year).

These efforts did not go to waste, for in May of 2018, articles with the title “Number of foreign students seeking jobs in Japan after graduation hits record high” made the headlines for The Japan Times. The article quoted the Immigration Services Agency, stating that, in 2018, a total of 25,942 students switched their status of residence to one that permits employment in Japan, up 3,523 from 2017 and more than doubled from 2013.

Amid the threat of labor-shortage that looms in Japanese society, such surge of international students willing to stay in Japan provides both comfort and hope for the nation’s future.