Japan to Encourage Universities to Open Overseas Campuses

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry

The government will strengthen support for universities to open branches or campuses overseas, according to sources.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry aims to export Japanese-style education and increase the presence of Japanese universities overseas to attract foreign students to Japan, it is believed.

The branches and campuses overseas are also expected to be utilized as bases for Japanese students to study abroad.

As part of a large-scale globalization plan for education starting next fiscal year, the ministry will support the overseas expansion of universities.

Under the support program, which will be provided to national, public and private universities, they will set up campuses on the grounds of affiliated universities overseas and other places, and lecturers and instructors dispatched from Japan will give classes that are provided at Japanese universities.

In collaboration with local universities, curriculums will be developed and staff exchanges will be conducted. Educational programs will also be created with the cooperation of local companies and other entities.

The Japanese schools will utilize these bases overseas to enable Japanese students to study abroad.

Under the government plan, universities are also expected to provide education in emerging and developing countries such as those of the so-called Global South, where access to higher education is difficult.

The ministry will have ¥1.5 billion included in its budgetary request for fiscal 2024 for expenses related to campus rent, facility maintenance and personnel expenses for local coordinators, among other steps.

Not much progress has been made in terms of the overseas expansion of universities because of many hurdles including language barriers, financial burdens and faculty shortages.

According to 2020 data compiled by a U.S. educational and research institution, only two Japanese universities had campuses outside Japan, while as many as 86 U.S. universities and 45 British universities had campuses overseas.

In March, the University of Tsukuba announced that it will set up a campus in Malaysia in the autumn of 2024.

In April, the Council for the Creation of Future Education, which is chaired by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, included in its second set of proposals measures to improve the environment for universities to open branches overseas.