The ASEAN region is increasing in importance as a market for Japanese companies because its member states are getting wealthier and accelerating their development. Hence, increasing the number of students from the region studying in Japan is essential to nurture future businesspeople or politicians to work between Japan and ASEAN member states.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology aims to increase the number of foreign students to 300,000 by 2020, from about 200,000 currently. ASEAN is driving the rise of foreign students.

As of May 1, 2014, Japan had 184,133 foreign students, up 9 percent from 168,145 a year earlier, according to the Japan Student Services Organization, or JASSO.