The Internationalization of Japanese Universities

English-Mediated Courses as the Key to Success

  • Matthias Hennings (Autor/in)


Efforts to attract more foreign students have been driving higher-education reform in Japan for decades. In 2008, the Japanese government announced its aim of reaching 300,000 international students by 2020 with the launch of its 300,000 International Students Plan. Under the scheme, the government has been providing funding for selected core universities in an initiative called the Global 30 Project. Many of the country's universities have consequently implemented degree programs held in English. This paper examines the growing number of international students in Japan and analyzes the impact that English-mediated courses have had on this increase. As the analysis shows, the growth in the number of international students at universities with a comprehensive range of such courses is significantly higher than at other universities, indicating that the use of English as a language of instruction may be a useful strategy for making Japanese universities more viable and internationally competitive.