The number of Japanese studying abroad has seen its sharpest fall yet, the government said Wednesday, blaming the nation's economic slowdown and young people's "inward-looking perspective".
The number of Japanese at schools, colleges and universities overseas came to 66,833 in 2008, down by a record 11 percent from the previous year, said a survey by the education ministry.
Their most popular destination was the United States, where 29,264 Japanese studied, down 14 percent, according to the survey based on Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and other figures.
China was the second-most popular destination with 16,733 Japanese students, down 10 percent, followed by Britain with 4,465, down 22 percent, the survey showed.
The number of Japanese students abroad hit a peak of 82,945 in 2004 but has since declined "due to the economic slump as well as students' inward-looking perspective," a ministry official said.
Meanwhile, the number of foreign students in Japan reached a record 141,774 as of May 1, up seven percent from a year earlier, the fourth consecutive annual gain, Jiji Press reported, quoting another survey.
Chinese students in Japan topped the list with 86,173, up nine percent from the year before, followed by 20,202 South Korean students, up three percent.
"It is necessary for Japanese to go aboard if our country wants to foster people with a global perspective," the ministry official said.