The hopes are that a fall start to the school year (instead of the April start that is the standard in Japan) will encourage Japanese students to study abroad more as well as draw more foreign students to Todai. However, such a move could put the university out of synch with the rest of the country. Although Todai may have little to worry about, universities and colleges which do not have huge numbers of surplus applicants may be reluctant to undertake such a major change.
As of last May, only 53 undergraduates at the University of Tokyo, 0.4 percent of the student body, were studying overseas, the report says.
Foreign students in the undergraduate program at the school, known locally as Todai, currently account for only 1.9 percent of the total, compared with 10 percent at Harvard University and 6 percent at Seoul National University, it says.
"I don't think the change will sharply increase the number of foreign students nor Japanese students going abroad to study. There are still many other factors," Hamada said. "But I believe by establishing this fall enrollment system, the process toward internationalization will move forward."
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