The number of Japanese studying abroad in 2011 declined for the seventh consecutive year, the education ministry said Tuesday.
The figure stood at 57,501, down 559 from the previous year and 31 percent lower than the peak in 2004.
A ministry official said the decline apparently reflected economic sluggishness, pointing out that the drop-off was particularly high in the United States and other Western countries, where the costs of studying are high.
The ministry is aiming to double the number to 120,000 by 2020.
Among Japanese studying abroad, the United States hosted 19,966, followed by China at 17,961 and Britain at 3,705.
Meanwhile, the number of foreigners studying in Japan stood at 135,519 as of May 2013, down 2,237 from the previous year, according to the Japan Students Services Organization. Of them, Chinese accounted for 81,884, followed by 15,304 from South Korea and 6,290 from Vietnam.
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