The Japanese education ministry is planning to offer international scholarships to students, in order to encourage them to study abroad, the education minister, Hakubun Shimomura, said.
The scholarships will be available in 2017 and they are tied to a series of education initiatives by Abe’s government who is trying to make Japan more competitive internationally.
The number of Japanese students studying overseas peaked at 82,945 in 2004 and fell to 58,060 in 2010, according to the Ministry of Education. Fewer than 20,000 Japanese students studied in the United States in 2011, compared with 46,000 in 1999, according to the Institute of International Education.
The scholarships will be given to students enrolled at Japanese universities who will want to start studying in autumn, instead of starting in spring, as students in Japan usually do. The autumn calendar would match many other countries, according to the international press.
Hirofumi Horie, a professor who teaches Western history and English communications at Senshu University in Tokyo, said the idea was not a bad one. “Japanese students are not very mature at that age mentally,” he said. “Going abroad to study or to do things other than studying might be a plus for them.”