The number of high school students who studied abroad in the 2013 school year increased 20 per cent from the 2011 school year, according to an education ministry survey.
There had been few high school students studying abroad due to the economic recession, among other reasons. The surge in the latest survey is believed to have partly resulted from local governments' efforts to tackle globalisation - such as providing students with subsidies for overseas education.
As a rule, the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry conducts a survey regarding international exchanges at public and private schools nationwide every two years.
There were 3,897 students who studied abroad for three months or longer in the 2013 academic year, up 20 per cent from the 3,257 students in the previous survey.
The United States was the most popular destination for study - with 1,156 students - followed by New Zealand and Canada, according to the survey.
The number of students going abroad for their education had been waning after the 2004 school year due to the recession, a fallen birthrate and a trend among young people to be "inward-looking."
In fiscal 2013, about half the prefectural governments provided students with assistance money - almost double from fiscal 2011.
The number of public and private high schools that made a school excursion abroad in the 2013 school year came to 899, up 3 per cent from two years before.
By destination, 35,168 students visited the United States for their school trip while more than 20,000 visited Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.
In the 2011 academic year, 9,312 students visited China, but the number plunged to 1,626 in the 2013 school year.
The number of students who visited South Korea decreased to 12,037, down more than 40 per cent from the previous survey.
"It is believed that schools gave consideration to parents' feelings, given the recent Japan-China and Japan-South Korea relationships," an official of the education ministry said.
Meanwhile, the number of foreigners who studied at high schools in Japan for three months or more was 1,665 in the 2013 school year, up about 30 per cent from the 2011 academic year.
In 2011, the number had sharply fallen due to the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Chinese students accounted for the largest number, at 536, in the latest survey, followed by US and Thai students, according to the survey.