JAOS surveyed its 42 member organisations, primarily consisting of education agents, and found that the number of Japanese students taking part in online study abroad programs outnumbered those who had travelled to other countries for study last year, with over 7,000 opting for digital opportunities.
In 2019, the last year unaffected by the pandemic, an estimated 78,000 Japanese students studied abroad with JAOS members.
Approximately 35% of the students travelling abroad to study went to the US, making it the most popular destination for Japanese students, followed by Canada.
The report states that the number of Japanese students at these destinations was “significantly greater” than the number of students who went to the next two most popular countries, England (12%) and Malta (6%).
“These programs had advantages over other countries in terms of the time difference and program fees”
The survey accounted for different course types including degrees, language courses and secondary education.
Almost half of those studying online were taking language courses in the Philippines, with 2,430 students taking courses for under three months.
The report notes that these programs “had advantages over other online study abroad programs in other countries in terms of the time difference and program fees”.
Tatsu Hoshino, executive secretary at JAOS, commented that the Philippines was “the fourth most popular destination for language travel for Japanese before the pandemic” and that Japanese students are beginning to return in person as language schools reopen in the Southeast Asia island state.
Hoshino also noted that Australia is normally a popular destination for Japanese students, but border closures meant that no Japanese students travelled to the country in 2021.
Despite the steep decline in outward numbers, Hoshino was optimistic that outbound mobility is beginning to bounce back, noting that agents are currently “very busy” helping students.