Unlike in China, South Korea, high schoolers here less willing to study abroad

Kyodo News

Japanese high school students are less willing to study abroad than their counterparts in the U.S., China and South Korea, according to a recent poll.

The Japan Youth Research Institute survey found that 37 percent of junior high and 41 percent of high school students hope to study overseas.

The comparable figures were 49 percent and 56 percent in the U.S., 84 percent and 61 percent in China and 47 percent and 64 percent in South Korea.

The September-October 2008 survey covered about 8,300 students in 142 schools in the four countries.

Asked why they wanted to study abroad, 40 percent to 60 percent of the students in China and South Korea listed expectations of better educational environments.

But only 17 percent of the Japanese junior high and 8 percent of the high school students cited this factor, which could suggest they are basically satisfied with the quality of education at home.

Between 30 percent and 40 percent of the Chinese and South Korean students also cited higher living standards abroad and the hope of skirting tough competition at domestic schools. Such reasons came to about 10 percent in Japan and the U.S.

More than 50 percent of the students in Japan listed opportunities to be exposed to foreign cultures and improve their foreign-language skills.