According to the Immigration Services Agency, a total of 25,942 students switched their status of residence last year to one that permits employment in Japan, up 3,523 from a year earlier and more than doubling 2013 figures.
Translation and interpretation were the most popular job descriptions, with 23.6% of students hired, followed by sales at 13.4%, overseas business at 9% and technology development in the field of data processing at 6.5%.
Chinese nationals topped the list of students switching to work visas
Asian nations accounted for 95.3% of the total, with Chinese nationals topped the list of students switching to work visas, accounting for 42%, followed by Vietnamese at 20.2% and Nepalese at 11.3%.
According to the agency, interest among Nepalese students in studying in Japan has been on the rise in recent years, with Nepalese students experiencing the largest increase in employment (up 44.8%).
Back in May, the agency revised a justice ministry notification to allow foreign nationals who have graduated from universities or completed postgraduate studies in Japan to work at restaurants and retail shops under the “Designated Activities” status of residence.
Previously, graduates of Japanese universities from overseas were not allowed to work in the services sector on the grounds that jobs in the industry were not relevant to their area of expertise.
According to the Japan Student Services Organisation, there were 298,980 international students in Japan as of May 1, 2018, reflecting the government’s ambition to push for the internationalisation of the country’s HEIs.
However, despite prime minister Shinzo Abe’s goal of seeing 10 Japanese universities in the world’s top 100 by 2023 and education reforms including a 7.7 billion yen (US$982 million) fund for local universities, just two Japanese universities are currently in the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020.
The University of Tokyo came in 36th place, tying with King’s College London, while Kyoto University ranked 65th.