Tokyo, Japan

The cooperation between Japan and Germany in the higher education sector

With the abdication of Emperor Akihito and the accession to the throne of his son, Naruhito, an era goes down in Japan and a new one begins. However, the upheaval in Japan's strongly traditional society needs some time to reach a point of balance and define the future of Japan’s cooperation with Germany and other countries. 

Current developments in Japan

When it comes to the Japanese education sector, one of the main discussion topics is the government's intention to promote the opening and internationalization of Japanese universities, which already enjoy an excellent reputation worldwide. This idea can become crucial for the future of Japanese education as it can open up a range of opportunities for both Japan and its international partners.

For Germany, Japan offers a great example. Being the first industrialized country to be confronted with social, economic and technical challenges Japan is seeking to maintain its economic and scientific performance even despite the fact of having an aging and shrinking population. 

Japanese students in Germany and higher education cooperation

According to the Federal Statistical Office, 2,285 Japanese people (59% female) are currently studying in Germany. 810 of them are first-year students. 1,491 - university students, 571 - art and music students, 213 - university of applied sciences students and 10 - college students. And the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan has officially announced that it aims to increase the number of Japanese studying abroad even further, in order to improve the English language skills of the population. 

As of 25 June 2018, the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) reported the status of 732 bilateral university cooperation agreements between Japan and Germany. When compared with 2005, this number has already tripled. According to the Federal Foreign Office, German-Japanese cultural relations are supported by a tight network of 60 city partnerships, 55 Japanese-German societies in Japan and 50 similar societies in Germany.

Among the German cities that are actively involved in partnerships with Japan, it is worth highlighting Düsseldorf as the city with the biggest Japanese diaspora. Düsseldorf is often referred to as “Japan’s capital on the Rhine” and this name appeared for a reason as there are over 400 Japanese companies in Düsseldorf and around 620 in North Rhine-Westphalia in general. Because of such a strong Japanese heritage, since 2002 Düsseldorf is also celebrating a Japan Day - a festival to bring Germans and Japanese together.

Thanks to all those efforts, Germany ranks as the 4th most popular destination among Japanese students that decide to pursue higher education overseas, with only the US, UK and Australia being more popular. Unlike many other nationalities that come to Germany to study natural sciences, Japanese students prefer arts and humanities as almost 60% choose to study one of those fields. 

Expatrio’s outlook on the bilateral relations

For Expatrio, the strengthening of German-Japanese cooperation in science and student exchange is an important milestone. When stimulated, this cooperation can help to solve one of the big challenges of German industrial society that lacks international talent. 

Expatrio explicitly supports the intention of the Japanese government to further increase the number of Japanese students going overseas. Japan provides highly qualified young professionals in many areas, which are of great benefit to small and medium-sized companies in Germany.