Japanese Exchange Students and Outreach to Japanese Students Steadily Decreasing at American Universities

Japanese Exchange Students and Outreach to Japanese Students Steadily Decreasing at American Universities Yomiuri Shimbun, January 8, 2010: 日本人留学が先細り、勧誘続々打ち切り…米大学 Yuji Yoshigata reporting from New York Numbers of Japanese and Chinese Exchange Students at American Universities

Numbers of Japanese and Chinese Exchange Students at American Universities, according to the Institute of International Education Left Axis: Exchange Students in the Tens of Thousands Bottom Axis: Year Right Axis: American Universities Attending IIE Study Abroad Fair in Japan Rising Line: Chinese Students Falling Red Line: Japanese Students Blue Bars: American Universities Attending IIE Study Abroad Fair in Japan In Other Words: Chinese and Japanese exchange students were equal in 1998. Since then, Japanese students have steadily declined, and recently schools attending the IIE’s study abroad fair have plummeted from over a hundred to a couple dozen. The number of Chinese exchange students steadily increased until 2006 and exploded afterward.

American universities’ recruitment of Japanese students has steadily decreased over the last few years. Study abroad fairs and informational events in Japan are tapering off, the American agency of the Yomiuri Shimbun discovered in a recent investigation. The decline in students from Japan, once a promising market for the United States, and the universities’ renewed targeting of countries like China sends worrying signals about the future of the U.S.-Japan relationship. Japan, once the country with the most exchange students in the U.S., is now far behind China and has fallen all the way to 6th place in that respect. This is said to reflect the introversion of Japanese students and their declining interest in foreign countries. Since 1919, the Institute of International Education, an American non-profit research institute, has hosted a study abroad fair in Japan every year, but with the decline of Japanese students, participating American universities have declined 80%, from 106 to 21. This is in sharp contrast with the steady increase of universities at the IIE’s fairs in China, India, Vietnam, and the like. The IIE, as an international educational exchange organization with ties all over the United States, has a strong relationship with the Japan board of the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship. IIE Executive Vice President Peggy Blumenthal, touching on the impact people have had all over the world after studying abroad in the U.S. post-World War II, is vexed by the diminution of Japanese students and says that “this will have serious consequences on the American-Japanese relationship 10 or 20 years down the line.” Nevertheless, in the face of the continued decline, the organization is “considering canceling its event” in Tokyo. Linden Tours, a Washington, D.C.-based company which helps American students study abroad, sent students from 35-40 universities to Japan every year, but in 2009 it removed Japan from its list of destinations. The University of Denver ceased to participate in the IIE fair in 2008. Marjorie Smith, Director of International Admission, said that “because students in Japan aren’t interested, there’s no point in sending a representative. This despite the strong yen favoring them…I wonder what’s happening over there. The dramatic drop-off in Japanese students is perplexing.” Japanese Exchange Students at American Universities From 1994-95, Japanese were the most numerous exchange students in the United States for four consecutive school years, peaking at 47,073 in 1997-98 and leveling off afterward. Since 2005-06, the number of students has declined every year. The last two years have seen double-digit drops: 13.9% from ’07-’08 to ’08-’09 and 15.1% from ’08-’09 to ’09-’10. There were 24,842 Japanese exchange students in America in 2009-10, good for 6th place in the country. Two explanations are that Japanese university admissions have declined as a whole owing to the country’s low birth rate, and study abroad interferes with junior year job-hunting.

日本人留学が先細り、勧誘続々打ち切り…米大学

【ニューヨーク=吉形祐司】米国の大学による日本人留学生の獲得活動がここ数年、続々と打ち切られ、「留学フェア」など、日本での宣伝イベントが先細りになっていることが、米関係機関の調査で分かった。

 かつては有望な市場だった日本が米国への留学生減少を受けて見限られ、中国などに「標的」を移行する動きで、日米関係への将来的な影響が懸念されている。

 米国の大学で学ぶ日本人留学生の数は、かつては国別で1位だったが、2009~10年は中国などに遠く及ばず、6位まで転落した。「内向き志向」と言われる日本人学生の海外への関心の低下が背景として指摘されている。

 1919年から外国との教育交流を主導してきた非営利団体、米国際教育研究所(IIE)は91年から毎年、日本で「留学フェア」を開催しているが、日本人留学生減少を受け、参加する米大学は06年の106校から、10年には5分の1の21校まで激減した。同じ期間に中国やインド、ベトナムでのフェアに参加する米大学の数はほぼ安定的に推移しており、日本の落ち込みが際立つ。

 IIEは、国際教育交流では全米でも権威ある機関の一つで、フルブライト奨学金事業を行う日米教育委員会とも関係が深い。ペギー・ブルーメンソールIIE副理事長は、戦後米国に留学した人々が各界で活躍してきた歴史を踏まえ、「(日米関係にとっても)10年、20年単位で考えると極めて深刻な事態だ」と日本人留学生の減少を危惧している。それでも、東京での留学フェアについては参加校減少に歯止めがかからないため、「打ち切りを検討している」と明言した。

 首都ワシントンを拠点に留学生獲得活動を支援する企画を手がけるリンデン社も、これまで毎年、35~40の米大学の関係者を日本に送り出してきたが、09年から日本を訪問先から除外したという。

 コロラド州のデンバー大は、08年を最後に留学フェアへの参加をやめた。マージョリー・スミス留学生担当部長は「日本人学生が関心をなくしているのに、担当者を派遣するのは無駄だ。(留学に有利な)円高なのに、日本で何が起きているのだろうか。日本人学生の劇的なまでの減少には困惑している」と話している。

 ◆米大学の日本人留学生

 1994~95年から4年連続で留学生数は国別1位だったが、97~98年の4万7073人をピークに横ばいが続いた。2005~06年以降は5年連続減少。08~09年は前年比13.9%減、09~10年は同15.1%減と、2年連続2けた減になった。09~10年の留学生数は2万4842人で国別では6位。少子化で日本の大学への入学が容易になったことや、海外留学で大学3年時の就職活動が不利になることなどが減少の要因とみられている。

(2011年1月8日14時35分 読売新聞)

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