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A:TVhile maintaining the Plan to Accept100,000Foreign Students which aims to have100,000foreign students in Japan by thebeginning of the2P' century,we will work toachieve a quantitative expansion by placingmore importance on the care of'each indi-vidual student to promote student ex-chartges..
Under the Plan to Accept100,000Foreign Stu-dents,the number of foreign students studying in Japan,which was a mere10,000in1983,had increased to approximately54,000by1995with positive support for foreign students from relat-ed groups and local communities,including people involved with universities.However,the number of foreign students has stagnated over the last few years as the cost of living in Japan is comparatively high,there is a shortage of information overseas about studying in Japan and the economy has seen a recent downturn.The provision of higher education institutions in Asian countries has also had an impact.As a result,as of May1998,there were51,000foreign students,and thus the target of100,000is unlikely to be achieved in the near future.At the same time,the target of100,000is not overly ambitious considering the expectations of the international community toward Japan and the scale of higher education in Japan.In addi-tion,MESSC will maintain the target in future and exert the utmost effort in view of the in-creasing significance of international exchange through foreign students-said to be the"am-bassadors of the future"-the efforts of relevant persons and the understanding of the Japanese people in regard to the target.Specifically,we will promote a variety of measures,including an increase in the intake of Japanese government scholarship students who-se expenses are covered by the central govern-ment,the provision of scholarships for self-financed foreign students who come to Japan at their own expense,and the provision of high-quality and low-cost lodgings.In addition,in cooperation with the Science and Technology Agency and the Ministry of International Trade and Industry(MITI),we are currently building the Kokusai Kenkyu Koryu Daigaku Mura(In-ternational University Village for Research Ex-change)in the Aomi area of Koto Ward,Tokyo's marine sub-center,which will function as a cen-ter of international exchange,university-industry-government cooperation and informa-tion dissemination for foreign students and re-searchers.
MESSC views Japan's foreign student policy for the21 st
century as an intellectual international contribution.We have clearly defined the necessity to develop a range of measures to help for-eign countries to develop their human resources as well as to maintain the peace and security of Japan and strengthen our intellectual influence globally.
On21September1999at approximately1:47am local time,central Taiwan was struck by a major earthquake with a7.6magnitude.One of the causalities of the earthquake was the Taichung School for Japanese(Principal:Yoshichi Ehara)located at the foot of a mountain to the east of Taichung.The school was severely damaged and rendered unusable as the ground split and folded.Schools for Japanese are estab-lished largely by Japanese residents' groups,including employees of Japanese companies located in the area,in order to educate their children,and MESSC supports these schools by dispatching teaching staff from national,public and private elementary and lower secondary schools.As he was trying to confirm everybody's safety by cellular phone,Principal Ehara,who reached the school at dawn through darkness due to power failures and encoun-tering traffic restrictions,was stunned when he saw it.Some dispatched teachers were also shedding floods of tears.However,it was no time to dwell on the tragedy.First,they had to check up on the safety of all the students.Unable to use telephones,the teachers split into groups and visited homes and emergency shelters to check up on stu-dents'.safety.Fortunately,all the students and teachers and their respective families were safe.While this was being done,Principal Ehara,visiting students and families in emergency shelters,was being questioned by the children:"Has the school been de-stroyed?What will we do?","What about the swimming tournament on the23 rd
?"Principal Ehara thus resolved to rebuild the school.However,first he had to restart classes,which meant borrowing rooms.Fortunately,the Angel Kindergarten in Taichung was able to lend classroom facili-ties,and Principal Ehara decided to restart classes on11October taking account of the time needed for the move.This was the sec-ond day after the earthquake.There was also some good news for the rebuilding of the school.On the evening of7October,President Lee Teng-hui inspected the Taichung School for Japanese,and knowing that Principal Ehara was worried about finding somewhere for the school,proposed a potential site the following morning.At9:20am on11October,there was an assembly for the reopening of classes in the chapel of the Angel Kindergarten.At the assembly,the children who were attending school after a long absence were smiling happily,and the teachers who greeted them were animated.Principal Ehara,who rose to give the greeting,seemed to be overcome by emotion and unable to speak after saying,"Good morning,everyone,"but finally con-cluded by saying,"We will build an even better school than before."Parents were seen pressing handkerchiefs to their eyes.The construction of new buildings for the Japanese school established and operated by Japanese residents will not be an easy task,involving the raising of funds and other work.The Government of Japan is provid-ing such support as subsidies for building costs and psychological care for children following the earthquake.
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