Education Minister Takashi Kosugi asked business leaders on Mar. 10 to hire more foreign graduates of Japanese universities at overseas offices of Japanese companies, according to officials of the Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren).

The remark came during a meeting of senior Education Ministry officials and Keidanren executives that was held to discuss the fostering of people with creativity and diversity. Kosugi’s remark was in response to Keidanren’s call for the Japanese government to work more on increasing the number of foreign students. Business executives pointed out, for example, that the number of American students coming to Japan is 1/30th the number of Japanese students going to the United States, Keidanren officials said.

Keidanren executives also said that Japan’s English-education system needs to be fully reformed, claiming that it is usually only Japanese who use interpreters at international conferences conducted in English, according to the officials. The officials said the Education Ministry noted that people who have completed a doctorate have problems finding jobs in Japan and asked companies to hire more people with Ph.D.s.

But Keidanren Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda reportedly replied that people with doctorates are too old for companies to hire as new graduates, adding that the Japanese government should try to create more research-oriented job opportunities.

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