University capacity has reached a near-saturation point, with most students attending private institutions.

Country Overview

Japan is an amalgam of ancient traditions and modernity. It was a regional military power in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, defeating Russia and China. Its own defeat during World War II, however, wrought political, military and economic devastation. Since then its economy, fueled by the consumer electronics and automobile industries, has grown into the second-largest in the world. While much of the world has embraced Japanese products (many are household names) and cuisine (think sushi, tempura, ramen), relations with its neighbors remain strained, to some extent, over its wartime past.


The weather throughout the four main islands that make up Japan is generally temperate, with four distinct seasons. The weather can get very hot during the summer months. June, July and August are hot and humid and after June the country experiences its wettest months. In the south winters are cool but sunny, but as one moves further north temperatures drop and snow falls. The island of Hokkaido in the far north of Japan is bitterly cold in the winter, with snow guaranteed.

Annual rainfall
Annual precipitation, which averages between 100 and 200 centimeters (39–78 inches), is concentrated in the period between June and September. In fact, 70 to 80 percent of the annual precipitation falls during this period


$4,329,000,000,000 (2005 est.)



Overview of Higher Education

The system of higher education in Japan comprises four types of institutions: universities, junior colleges, vocational/technological colleges, and professional graduate schools.

The standard undergraduate degree at universities is the bachelor’s, which typically requires four to six years of study. The standard postgraduate degrees are the master’s and the doctorate. Five-year training programs in a specific profession are available at technological colleges.
The large number of private institutions has fostered the spread of higher education nationwide. At the same time, university capacity has reached a near-saturation point. Some three-fourths of students attend private institutions. But the line between public and private institutions has become blurred since 2004, when universities became autonomous from the education ministry in matters of finance, staff, and self-assessment.

In 2005, some 2.9 million students studied at 726 universities and graduate schools, while some 280,000 students studied at 551 junior and technical colleges.
(Sources: BBC, The Europa World of Learning, Hiroshima University Research Institute for Higher Education)

Number of Colleges, Universities, Technical Institutes

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (total): 1,217

Number of Colleges, Universities, and Technical Institutes (private/non-state): 993

Number of Higher Education Students

Number of students enrolled: 4,033,000

Number of international students enrolled: 123,829

Contact Information

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

3-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8959, Japan

Web site: http://www.mext.go.jp/english/

Phone: +81-(0)3-5253-4111

E-mail: ytanaka@mext.go.jp

Contact: Mr Yuichi Tanaka, Office for International Planning