The number of foreign students enrolled in Japan rose 13.2 percent in 2015 from the year prior, with a dramatic increase in students from Vietnam and Nepal, according to data from the Japan Student Services Organization out Thursday.
According to JASSO, an independent administrative body affiliated with the education ministry, 208,379 foreign students were enrolled in programs nationwide as of May 1 last year.
China remained the contributor of the most students, with 94,111, nearly unchanged from the previous year.
The number of students from Vietnam leapt 47.1 percent year-on-year to 38,882, while those from Nepal rose 55.5 percent to 16,250.
An education ministry official said, “Japanese businesses are making greater inroads (in Vietnam), leading to increased interest in Japan, with some elementary schools beginning to offer Japanese lessons.”
Separate data released by the ministry Thursday showed 55,350 Japanese nationals were studying on medium- or long-term overseas exchanges in 2013, the latest recorded year.
The total number the year before was 60,138.
But the latest data cannot be directly compared to that of previous years, because for the first time it excludes Japanese nationals who were already living in their host country prior to entering university or another institution there.
The number had been declining each year since 2004 before inching up in 2012.
The United States was the most popular destination in 2013, with 19,334 students, followed by China with 17,226, Taiwan with 5,798 and Britain with 3,071.