• Kyodo

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The Aichi Prefectural Government is offering scholarships to students from 22 Asian countries to study at graduate schools there on condition that they agree to work for local companies after graduation.

The scholarships cover tuition and ¥150,000 in living expenses for a six-month period before the program begins — a time when they are expected to learn Japanese and prepare for admission. The support is repeated for two more years until the course is completed.

One of the first 10 recipients, 25-year-old Pham Hoang Viet of Vietnam, began studying at the Nagoya Institute of Technology in April.

“I can concentrate on my research without worrying about financial problems. I want to work for a company where I can prove myself,” he said.

The first recipients arrived in October and hail from China, India, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Also eligible are students from Bangladesh, Brunei, Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, the Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

While the prefecture does not stipulate the specific research areas eligible for funding, the graduate courses must “support manufacturing industries of Aichi Prefecture,” according to an official. Humanities courses are included.

A total of 724 companies headquartered in Aichi had operations abroad as of the end of 2012, and many appreciate the value of people who are well-versed in the local language and business practices of other countries, the official added.

Aichi previously offered ¥100,000 per month to students from 10 Asian countries under an older program. Now it has raised the financial support, widened the number of countries, and added the employment condition to boost the international profile of its local businesses.

“If (the students) can become a bridge to strengthen relationships between companies in the prefecture and different countries, it will contribute to the local economy,” Aichi Gov. Hideaki Omura said.

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