Up to 15 agents from Japan and neighbouring countries will attend StudyWorld as part of an official delegation this September. The Japanese agents, and a few from Korea and Taiwan, will attend StudyWorld before a five-night fam trip to Wales.
Find out more about the market and how best to approach business in Japan below. And make sure you register for StudyWorld before the appointment system goes live in a few weeks so you can be the first to request meetings.
Growing business from Japanese agents
Japan is a growing market for international education. A recent survey by JAOS (Japan Association of Overseas Studies) found agents sent over 80,000 students abroad. The latest English UK student statistics report shows that Japan and Korea are in the top five sending markets for ELT and that both are growing.
This is largely following educational reform in Japan. In 2013, Japanese Prime Minister Abe made studying abroad a cornerstone of his education plans and set a target to increase the number of Japanese students studying abroad to 120,000 by 2020. English exams will also become part of the university entrance test system from 2020.
With major sporting events including the Olympic Games also coming to Japan, its government has estimated that it will need 90,000 citizens to learn more English to act as volunteer games makers. The majority of JAOS agency bookings were for language courses of less than three months.
Doing business with Japanese agents
The UK is popular in Japan because of its culture, art, music, history, cities, nature, and because of the opportunity to learn British English, says Tatsu Hoshino, chief executive of Rising Star and founding member of JAOS. Although Japan’s most popular international education destination is the USA.
It is important to build relationships and get to know the Japanese market well. “Don’t talk straight forwardly too much. Don’t rush things. You need build a good relationship first; find out a key person and try to get connected with them,” Tatsu advises.
In terms of opportunities for English language teaching, Tatsu notes growth in teacher training. “There will be major English education reformation and all our elementary teachers will need to teach English soon,” he explained. As companies internationalise, business and specialist English is expected to grow too.
Meet Japanese agents at StudyWorld
If you would like to develop your connections with the Japanese market, make sure you register for StudyWorld 2018 before Tuesday 10 July, when the appointments system goes live.
Attending StudyWorld is one of a number of projects over the coming year to connect Japanese agents with UK educators. After StudyWorld the fam trip will focus on the student experience and English language teaching in Wales. Later in the year a delegation of Welsh educators will enjoy a subsidised trip to an exhibition in Tokyo run by the British Council Japan and Study UK.