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KYOTO — Ritsumeikan University will establish a new international university in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, next year, Ritsumeikan officials said Friday.

Ritsumeikan Asia-Pacific University is scheduled to begin classes next spring, with half of its 800 students coming from overseas. Most will come from the Asia-Pacific region.

The new university will offer undergraduate courses to students interested in Japan and in economic and social issues related to the Pacific Rim.

The university will consist of two colleges — one for Asia-Pacific studies and one for international management. Students will be able to take classes in urban environment, tourism and information media, as well as business.

“Asia-Pacific University is unique because half of the student body will be from overseas. We believe that Asia-Pacific University is the first of its kind in the nation,” said Cora Dickson, a Ritsumeikan University staff member.

Because Ritsumeikan is a private university, neither foreign nor Japanese students at Asia-Pacific University will be able to receive Japanese government money for scholarships. However, Ritsumeikan officials are working with foreign governments and the private sector to secure student funding, especially for those from countries hit hard by the Asian economic crisis.

Advisers to the new university include Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori, as well as ambassadors from 26 countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

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