Japan’s International Cooperation in Education: An Overview

Nobuko Kayashima*, Kazuo Kuroda, Yuto Kitamura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter presents an overview of Japan’s international cooperation in education and introduces the objectives, scope, and analytical perspectives of this book. This book seeks to record the history of Japan’s international education cooperation from the 1950s to the mid-2010s and analyze the factors and rationales behind shifts in cooperation, as well as successes and challenges. The current chapter provides context by describing the overall trends in Japan’s international cooperation in education over the past 65 years. First, development cooperation for TVET commenced in the 1950s—the very earliest stage of Japan’s ODA—aimed at creating skilled workforce necessary for economic development. In the 1980s, the philosophy of hitozukuri (human resource development) became one of the guiding principles of Japan’s aid, which resulted in the further expansion of TVET programs. Second, Japan’s full-fledged basic education cooperation began in the 1990s under the global influence of the Education for All (EFA) movement and consisted mainly of school construction projects and mathematics and science education projects. Finally, in the area of higher education, Japan has been conducting large-scale scholarship projects for study in Japan and university development projects in developing countries. Since around 2000, these projects have been strongly influenced by global trends toward the internationalization of higher education. This holistic view highlights both the interdependence of basic education, TVET, and higher education cooperation over the course of their development and the distinct subsector level features of each component.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific Region
ISSN (Print)1573-5397
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791


  • Basic education
  • Higher education
  • Hitozukuri
  • Human resource development
  • Human security
  • Japan’s ODA
  • NGO
  • Scholarship
  • TVET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Development


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