In the context of the expansion of higher education, diversification of students and demand for further promoting international student exchanges, Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) was founded on April 1, 2004 as a core institution comprehensively developing various student support services for higher education in Japan. Since then, JASSO has been striving to develop well-rounded and outstanding individuals who will play important roles in the future, and working to promote international exchanges and understanding through its major programs such as scholarship loan programs, support programs for international students, and student support programs.
Since its founding, we have faced many important issues of student support such as students' financial and employment problems caused by the long-term economic recession and recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake. JASSO has promptly taken measures to respond to these problems in cooperation with the government and relevant organizations. With the increasing importance of educational support, JASSO is expected to take a greater role than ever with enhanced functions.
For scholarship loan programs, the number of recipients stands at 1.34 million students and the annual program cost has risen to approximately 1,100 billion yen. It is an important part of the infrastructure that supports society. Amidst quantitative expansion and qualitative diversification, we have also provided finely-tuned measures based on societal conditions and student support needs such as expanding the safety net for the repayment of scholarship loans and measures for students who are in financial need. Especially, this fiscal year is an epoch-making year for JASSO in that it achieved the introduction of a long-awaited Scholarship Grant Program. Going forward, for the realization of equal educational opportunities, we will endeavor to ensure that no student or pupil who demonstrates motivation and ability will be denied the chance to continue their education due to financial reasons.
As to international student support programs, we have implemented a variety of programs to accept more
international students from various countries to achieve the goal of the "300,000 Foreign Students Plan" formulated by the government, including the establishment of an office in Vietnam this March. As fostering international human resources is a pressing need in Japan's national strategy, JASSO has been designated as an operating agency for the "TOBITATE! Young Ambassador Program", a project for the promotion of Japanese students studying abroad, and has provided a variety of support including the provision of information on studying abroad and financial aid for both Japanese students going abroad and foreign students coming to Japan.
For the student support programs, we have provided various programs on the basis of research and analysis of the problems of student support at universities and colleges. Especially, JASSO is expected to further enhance its programs with respect to support for students with disabilities under the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities enforced in April 2016.
JASSO assumes important roles of supporting students for their academic achievement and personal development in many fields and contributes to fostering the future leaders of Japan. Public expectations for and interest in JASSO will become higher than ever.
We are determined to continually strive to provide higher quality services, responding to expectations from our stakeholders, and to fulfill our public mission and social responsibilities as a core institution to lead student support services in Japan.
We would appreciate your continued understanding and support of JASSO's programs in the future.