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January 23, 2009

Fewer overseas volunteers

The Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteers (JOCV), which is Japan's equivalent of the Peace Corps, used to attract over 10,000 applicants a year. In 2007 and 2008 there were fewer than 4,000 volunteers compared with 11,800 in 1994.

Some say say the main reason is that young people in Japan are less willing to take extended trips abroad. Others say the reason is the fear of terrorist attacks and other well-publicized dangers.

There is a particular shortage of young volunteers to help with farming and vehicle mechanics. Science and math teachers are also in short supply.

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