Mar 6, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

In a surprise shake-up, the number of projected Japanese graduates for 2019 who want to study banking has declined. 

Why? Experts suspect that the world of banking has some students nervous because of super-low interest rates and decreases in personnel at large firms.

At Tokyo's Meiji University Surugadai Campus in Chiyoda Ward, 300 mostly third-year students recently attended a seminar for students seeking banking careers--about half who attended last year. 

What accounts for the downturn?

In an article in the Straits Times, a 22-year old male student studying finance and commerce said, "I changed my option from banks to the medical machinery industry, as I was looking for an industry that will grow even in the era of a low birthrate."

What careers do students want to pursue?

Information and the internet. AI. Fisheries and food. Materials and chemistry. Carbon fiber technology.

Why? There's traction. There's a need. There's sustainability.

What will become of Japan's banking industry? It will still thrive, but it will look different.

The AI and information and internet sectors of banking will grow. Some major banks have already taken steps to attract Japan's best and brightest to the field. 

In the article, Keiko Hirano of Bunkahoso Career Partners' job information research center said, "It's reasonable that the popularity of banks has fallen to a certain degree as a result of personnel cuts and other factors."

He added, "Students willing to work at banks tend to have a comparatively stronger orientation toward stability. However, those students are shifting their job options to the information technology industry, which actively advertises its pleasant working environment, such as telework systems, or to dependable manufacturers." 

Learn more about studying in Japan.




Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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