Mar 23, 2018 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Japan may reach its goal of doubling the number of students studying abroad by 2020.


In 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced that Japan would subsidize "all motivated and able Japanese youth who wish to study abroad."

Canada is reaping the benefits. 

According to the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE), 2016 saw significant successes for Japanese students in Japan. In fact, Japan was among the top 10 regions of interests to CBIE member institutions. 

Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) ranked Canada as the second most popular study abroad destination after the US for four years running. 

Two recent surveys by Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), which offers scholarships to Canadian students wanting to study in Japan lend some insight into Japan's draw to Canada.

One survey found that over 55 percent of students want to learn English overseas, and 53 percent want to work on "interpersonal communication." 

Another survey found that 20 percent of student and 37 percent of parents had Canada as their second choice for study abroad, after the US. 

Canada remains a popular choice because of its "public safety" and positive learning environment.

Since many Japanese families see Canada as a safe place to study where they can learn English, it's been a hotspot.

According to MEXT data in 2013-2015, Japan saw a 24 percent increase in student outbound mobility to Canada. 

With Japan's goal of doubling the number of its study abroad students by 2020, this data looks good for Canada.

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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