Japan Data

Fiscal 2019 Data Shows Japan’s International Research Exchange Mainly Inbound

Science Politics Global Exchange

In fiscal 2019, three times as many foreign researchers came to Japan for more than 30 days as Japanese researchers went overseas.

According to the fiscal 2019 Overview of International Research Exchanges report by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT), 4,178 Japanese researchers were dispatched for medium- to long-term overseas exchanges (113 fewer than in the previous year), while 13,280 foreign researchers came to Japan for medium- to long-term research (108 more than in the previous year). This follows a consistent trend whereby there are about three times as many foreign researchers coming to Japan as Japanese researchers going overseas.

The MEXT survey is conducted annually to ascertain the situation for research exchanges between Japan and other countries. Exchanges of less than 30 days are classified as “short term,” while those of 30 days and longer are considered “medium to long term.” The latest survey targeted 908 institutions that included national and private universities, technical colleges, and independent agencies, with 836 valid responses received.

The combined number of dispatched researchers overseas for both short-term and medium- to long-term research totaled 158,604, a year-on-year decrease of 18,554; while the combined total for inbound researchers was 34,678, down 4,646 compared to the previous year. The survey revealed that the overwhelming number of Japanese researchers dispatched overseas took part in short-term research. The reason for the major year-on-year decrease, according to MEXT, was the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of the 2019 fiscal year (early 2020).

The breakdown by region for medium- to long-term research conducted overseas by Japanese researchers shows that Europe was the most common destination, followed by North America and then Asia. The largest segment of researchers coming to Japan were those from Asia, followed by Europe and North America. By country, the United States was the most frequent destination for Japanese researchers, followed by Britain and Germany. Meanwhile, China accounted for the largest segment of incoming researchers to Japan, followed by the United States and South Korea.

Ranking of Countries and Regions for Dispatched and Accepted Researchers (Fiscal 2019)

  Foreign Researchers Coming to Japan Japanese Researchers Going Overseas
1 China 3,306 (24.9%) United States 1,084 (25.9%)
2 United States 1,330 (10.0%) Britain 406 (9.7%)
3 South Korea 993 (7.5%) Germany 376 (9.0%)
4 India 572 (4.3%) France 223 (5.3%)
5 Britain 548 (4.1%) Australia 159 (3.8%)
6 France 544 (4.1%) Canada 149 (3.6%)
7 Germany 437 (3.3%) Switzerland 145 (3.5%)
8 Taiwan 355 (2.7%) China 120 (2.9%)
9 Vietnam 340 (2.6%) Italy 102 (2.4%)
10 Indonesia 313 (2.4%) Spain 84 (2.0%)
11 Thailand 306 (2.3%) Thailand 73 (1.7%)
12 Egypt 289 (2.2%) Netherlands 72 (1.7%)
13 Australia 226 (1.7%) South Korea 66 (1.6%)
14 Canada 220 (1.7%) Austria 53 (1.3%)
15 Italy 202 (1.5%) Vietnam 49 (1.2%)
16 Bangladesh 189 (1.4%) Indonesia 47 (1.1%)
17 Spain 164 (1.2%) Taiwan 44 (1.1%)
18 Russia 147 (1.1%) Singapore 43 (1.0%)
19 Malaysia 144 (1.1%) Philippines 41 (1.0%)
20 Philippines 115 (0.9%) India 39 (0.9%)

Compiled by Nippon.com based on data from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology. (Figures indicate the number of researchers and percentage of the whole.)

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

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