Japan keen to attract more international students

If you are interested to study in Japan, the homeland of the bullet train, Nintendo Wii, instant noodles and karaoke, you will be pleased to know that Japan welcomes you too.

The Japanese government is keen to attract more international students, and has announced the Framework of the “300,000 International Students Plan”.

Working closely with relevant government agencies, Japanese universities and other institutions of higher learning, the Japanese government is looking to implement systematic policies for disseminating a consistent package of information about every stage of study in Japan.

According to the Annual Survey of International Students in Japan conducted by JASSO, as of May 1, 2017, the total number of international students currently in Japan is 267,042 and the total number of Malaysian students is 2,945.

Malaysian students ranked No 10 of the total number of international students in Japan.

Admission Qualifications

In Japan, higher education starts upon the completion of 12 years of education.

Therefore, international students are required to complete 12 years of formal education (STPM, A-Level, UEC, IBD and equivalent) to be eligible to apply for admission to university (undergraduate), junior college or professional training college in Japan.

SPM graduates are required to complete at least a year of university preparatory courses (which are taught in Japanese) at one of the designated Japanese language institutes recognised by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology – Japan.

Only then will they be eligible to apply for admission into higher education institutions in Japan.

Don’t speak Japanese? Don’t worry.

Don’t speak Japanese and see it as an obstacle to furthering your studies in Japan? No worries, as Japanese universities have become more globalised.

There are now emerging programmes at universities and graduate schools where students can obtain a degree by taking classes entirely in English.

The cost of study in Japan

One year of living costs while studying in Japan is about RM45,000.

The yearly tuition fee for humanities, social science and science fields offered by Japanese national universities is about RM19,787 and RM19,878 for local public universities.

However, in private universities, depending on your major, the yearly tuition fee varies considerably within the range from about RM32,000-RM141,000.

Tuition is much cheaper at Japanese national and local public universities because these are substantially subsidised by the Japanese and prefectural governments.

International students with the status of residence of “Student” are allowed to work part-time in Japan up to a maximum of 28 hours a week and up to eight hours a day during the long school holidays, upon obtaining permission from the immigration bureau in Japan.

Approximately 75% of international students in Japan work part-time and earn about MYR1,800 per month on average.

Financial support for international students is available in the form of scholarships and tuition reduction/exemption systems offered by higher education institutions in Japan (30%, 50% or 100% exemption, etc).

Scholarships available for international students to study in Japan are divided into:

1. Scholarships available before arriving in Japan.

2. Scholarships available after arriving in Japan.

However, most forms of financial aid for international students requires for them to apply through the higher education institution where the student will be enrolled in, for example through university.

Employment in Japan after graduation

In recent years, more and more companies in Japan have been actively hiring international students from diverse backgrounds who understand the Japanese language and culture.

International students are allowed to engage in job-seeking activities in Japan for a year after graduation by changing the status of residence from “Student” to “Designated Activities”.

If you plan to work in Japan after graduating, it is important to have ample time to do extensive research on the companies you are interested in.

STUDY in JAPAN Pavilion @ FACON Education Fair

Representatives from 24 Japanese universities, three professional training colleges, eight Japanese language institutes and seven related Japanese organisations will gather at Hall 5 of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) on December 15 and 16 for the FACON Education Fair Incorporating Postgraduate.

Prospective students are invited to visit the STUDY in JAPAN Pavilion to get firsthand information and look at the opportunities available to them in the world of higher education in Japan.

Article contributed by Japan Students Services Organisation (JASSO), Tel: +60-3-2287-0812, Website: