WASHINGTON – Young Japanese not wanting to study overseas isn’t necessarily a big deal. After all, the fact that the younger generation don’t want to leave their country is a sign that they are content with how things are on their home turf, and not driven to seek change. In fact, it could be a source of pride for Japan that young people are comfortable with their current situation with no major sources of disgruntlement for them to seek opportunities abroad. With the unemployment rate close to 2 percent, joblessness is certainly not an issue, and the aging demographic structure means that there will be no shortage of places to work for those who are young and able-bodied. Yet the nagging question is whether Japanese youths are too comfortable and too unambitious.
According to a government white paper released in May, only 32 percent of Japanese wanted to spend time studying overseas, while 53 percent said they didn’t want to study abroad at all. Japan was the only country among the seven countries, namely the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, and South Korea, where less than half of those surveyed wanted to go overseas. In addition, Japan had the lowest rate of those stating they believed they understood foreign cultures at 29 percent.