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Survey: 58.8% university students welcome foreign classmates; 7.4% oppose

Japanese UniversitiesAlmost 60 percent of university students in Japan would welcome foreign students to their universities, although that warm feeling begins to fade among upperclassmen, according to a survey.

Masahiro Yokota, professor of education at Meiji University’s School of Global Japanese Studies, had his seminar students conduct a survey on students at 15 universities (four national, 11 private) from May to October last year. Of them, 1,996 students (914 men and 1,082 women) gave valid responses.

Regarding foreign students, 58.8 percent of the respondents said, “I want to accept them very much,” or “I want to accept them to some degree.”

On the other hand, 7.4 percent replied, “I do not want to accept them at all,” or “I do not want to accept them very much.”

Many of the positive respondents said, “I will have more opportunities to learn foreign languages,” and “They (foreign students) will become incentives for me to establish global business networks.”

Those not welcoming foreign students said, “Troubles will increase among different cultures,” and “They would make it more difficult for Japanese students to land jobs.”

The questionnaire asked the respondents to show their levels of positiveness to the acceptance of foreign students in the figures of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most accepting. The average figure among freshmen was the highest at 3.81 points. The figure declined to 3.72 points among sophomores, and further to 3.59 points among juniors. However, it rose slightly to 3.65 points among seniors.

“Upperclassmen have to make preparations for landing jobs. They lose interest in foreign students as their academic years advance to junior and senior years,” Yokota said of the downward trend of the numbers.

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