There are around 130,000 international students studying in higher education in Japan. While this doesn't make Japan an international superpower in HE or the HE hub of Asia, it does mean Japan is now a 'major player' in 'exporting' HE as a service. However, in 2010 the yen has risen dramatically against other major currencies, especially the US dollar. The rise in the yen seems unsustainable, but for now it is sure to impact international students and tourists here.
This report comes from Temple University, which operates campuses in Japan. Full article at the link below. Brief excerpt follows the link.
Exchange rate raises cost of living in Japan
September 27, 2010 by Lee Miller
With the yen rising in value, Temple Japan students can't live the way they used to.
TOKYO-- For many students, studying abroad is a dream, and with Temple’s abroad campuses, such as Temple Japan, students have a great chance to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
Temple Japan is located in Tokyo’s Azabu Jyuban district, an upscale residential part of the city. Recent economic trends have caused the dollar to decrease in value and the yen to rise, which is making a semester in Japan more difficult to afford.
However, the current economic troubles have meant that the once quite-affordable semester in Tokyo has become rather expensive, as exchange rates have plummeted.
Three years ago, the Japanese yen was at 121 per dollar, which meant that, in spite of Tokyo being one of the most expensive cities in the world and Temple Japan being in one of the most expensive parts of Tokyo, many students could comfortably travel to Japan for a semester or even all fours years of their college career.
This month, however, the yen reached a 15-year high versus the dollar, reaching 83 yen per dollar in the midst of America’s recession. This is a staggering 32 percent change in value of the dollar in Japan.
The effect has been particularly devastating to Americans who attend Temple Japan for extended periods of time. Even though full-time American students pay tuition in yen, students’ financial aid still comes from the United States in dollars.