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In 2012, CULCON convened a bi-national Education Task Force (ETF) comprised of government, private sector (nonprofit and for profit), and academic leaders from the U.S. and Japan to examine trends in bilateral student exchanges, and to make recommendations to leaders in both nations on ways to revitalize and invigorate U.S.-Japan educational exchanges.
Over the past 15 years, there has been a 57 percent drop in the number of Japanese students studying in the United States, from over 47,000 students in 1997-1998 to fewer than 20,000 in 2011-2012. During the same period, Japan fell from being the number-one country of origin for foreign students on U.S. campuses to seventh place. While the number of U.S. citizens studying in Japan tripled during the same period, reaching 6,000, the absolute number is still quite small, and there is a major need to expand exchange opportunities.
The June 2013 CULCON Education Task Force Report and Recommendations are the results of intensive deliberations by the ETF. CULCON offers these Recommendations with the hope that they will inform and support the efforts at the highest levels of both governments, especially Prime Minister Abe and President Obama, to create policies to advance the internationalization of education and increase the number of Japanese young people studying in the United States, and the number of Americans studying in Japan.
More generally, the Recommendations are aimed at the government, the private sector and academia in both nations. It is essential to engage the broadest possible number of stakeholders in bringing about change. To succeed, the two nations will need to work together to advance the shared goal of improving the quantity and quality of student exchanges.