It has been 15 years since Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO) was founded on April 1, 2004, as a core institution to comprehensively implement various student support services for higher education in Japan. The organization has been working towards a target (mid-term objective) that had been given to them by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with a five-year deadline, and managed to reach its fourth term in April 2019.
Society is changing along with the development of globalization and the rapid progression of science and technology, such as ICT and AI, resulting in significant changes in higher education and the student life. At this cusp of a new era, I was appointed as the fourth president of JASSO, and I would like to, in collaboration with the government and related organizations, work on further improving student support through the following three pillars: Scholarship Programs for Japanese Students, Support Programs for International Students, and Support Programs for Student Living.
First of all, with Scholarship Programs for Japanese Students, we have expanded the scope of scholarship loans. The number of annual recipients is now 1.3 million (1 per 2.7 students) and total loans have reached approximately 1 trillion yen. 2018 also saw the implementation of the long-awaited Scholarship Grants,which do not have to be repaid, and discussions are currently underway on how these programs can be extended. JASSO strives to ensure that, under the philosophy of "equal educational opportunity", motivated and capable students will not need to abandon schooling due to financial reasons.
On Support Programs for International Students, we provide scholarships and information, both for students studying abroad and international students looking to study in Japan. The number of international students has reached 298,000 (2018 survey) and the number of Japanese students has reached 105,000(2017 survey), but as globalization progresses and the acceptance of foreigners increases, we will be aiming to further promote the exchange of international students.
With regard to Support Programs for Student Living, on top of surveying and analyzing the current situation on support for career training, job seeking, and students with disabilities, we also gather and provide best practices from universities, and hold seminars for faculty and staff. JASSO is also working to improve student living support at universities and other such institutions by aiding with internship and job finding opportunities, especially now with the increase in students with disabilities.
We will work to improve the contents of our business to cater to any and all students, by making sure to put ourselves in the users' shoes, and providing public relation activities that are clearer and more carefully tailored towards students, parents, school officials and citizens.
We look forward to your continued support of and cooperation with JASSO.