Continued from 2 weeks ago, we discuss implementing an effective and wide-reaching scholarship fund for Japanese students. In order to do this, creating an organization that helps coordinate the various requirements becomes a critical necessity.

The third (and last point) is the importance of getting private industry involved.

3. Get private industry involved
A lot of companies “talk the talk” – they complain about their incoming hires not being worldly or knowing English – but they can “walk the walk” by participating in this program. As mentioned before, the program should be funded primarily by private companies. The reason is that this would give businesses a certain amount of “buy-in” – making them active stakeholders in the program and giving them an interest in its success and the success of the participating students. Private companies would also help by defining the types of people they want to hire – namely, people with overseas experience – as well as creating a willing job market for the students who return from overseas. To ease this process a certificate could be created for alumni, so that employers can tell who participated in the “official scholarship program.” This is especially true in this country, since the Japanese love certificates and rankings.

Private companies would also provide crucial feedback on what is globally relevant and what the real world trends and needs will be in the next generation of leaders and creative thinkers.

In the longer term, having a pool of globally oriented, bilingual people can only be an enormous advantage for forward-looking Japanese companies. A global perspective helps companies understand that global “needs” are not the same as domestic “wants,” and knowing this can help ensure that the products Japanese companies send overseas are globally relevant, and meet the needs of global consumers.

Implementing a program that encourages study abroad on a wide scale might uncover a number of problems in the Japanese establishment. But it would go a long way toward helping to renew and reinvigorate Japan and help it shake off the fetters that have been holding it back all these years – allowing this country to regain its natural innovative, competitive spirit and to prosper once more.

Your comments are always welcome.