Feeling Demographic Squeeze, Japanese Colleges Turn to Chinese Market

In an “aging society,” it stands to reason that some colleges and universities might have trouble attracting students in Japan. And, as we all know, institutions of higher learning need revenue like any other organization. For some schools, reports Tak Kamakura of Bloomberg News, this means recruiting Chinese students to fill classrooms.

Kamakura writes, “While 52 percent of Japanese 18-year-olds are attending college this year, up from 46 percent a decade ago, their numbers dropped to 1.4 million in 2005 from 2.1 million in 1992, according to the Education Ministry.”

Chinese diplomats educated in Japan have traditionally played a key role in the two countries’ understanding. When a new generation of internationally-educated bureaucrats and diplomats come to power in China and Japan, a generation for whom World War II is history, not memory, perhaps regional tensions will subside.

Reporters are fond of noting that Abe Shinzo is the first Japanese prime minister to be born after 1945, and already he has shown better cooperation with China and South Korea than his predecessors. This may be a coincidence, but it could reasonably also be a source of hope.

Cross-posted on the Campus Progress Blog.

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