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October 13, 2006

Japanese Universities Turn to Foreign Students, Senior Citizens

University enrollment is expected to plunge over the next few decades, and early signs are already appearing as the effects of Japan's dropping birthrate starts to produce challenges for some universities in the country. One such school is Tohwa University, in Kyushu. It received a total of 140 applications for 160 openings this past year. The school is planning to close its doors permanently in 2009. "It's time to quit before things get even worse", noted Yonosuke Fukuda, the chancellor of the university. Tohwa is not alone in this situation, as about 40 percent of colleges were not able to realize their enrollment targets for the year.

The lack of students is making some colleges re-consider their recruitment strategies, and even causing some to take stock of the programs they offer. Some are turning to China for an influx of foreign students. Others are making new offerings that might attract the growing number of retirees in Japan.

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