How to Apply for Scholarships in Japan Using Embassy Recommendation

Scholarships can help students a lot with their financial troubles, enabling them to be more effective in their studies. Scholarships in Japan have many benefits, but students are often discouraged because of their lack of knowledge about the process. Here’s an informative guide about the Embassy Recommendation for MEXT.

Why study in Japan?

Pursuing an academic career internationally has been one of the effects of globalization. The phenomenon had radically changed the mobility of students between countries, allowing for a multicultural exchange that was regarded in present-day society as important. Changes in the international outlook heightened the interest of students to engage in academic experience in another country. The trend made changes as well on how educational institutions, particularly on the higher level, create initiatives that would foster internationalization. First world countries, including Japan, continuously engage in various programs that would stimulate the influx of international students to its educational institutions. In fact, Japan ranked 2nd in the most desirable country to study in Asia and 9th in the world to be the host for most international students. What does this imply? Is it reflective of the existing educational system in the country? Let’s take a look at the different benefits of studying in the country.

※ Study International News, "Which country is home to the largest international student population?"

The Japanese educational system is recognized globally for its competitive statistics. According to the Academic Ranking of World Universities of 2019, there are 7 universities in the country that ranked within the top 200 of World Rankings. Japan also produced the most Nobel Prize laureates in any Asian country with 28 winners. This tells a lot about the education system of the country. In 2016, Japan spent 9% of its GDP on education funding, fostering the educational institutions in the country in different areas such as intensive curriculums in different levels of education, research funding, and international exchange programs. The support from the government manifests on the literacy rate of the country with 99%. Furthermore, the sound educational system of the country opens wider opportunities for international students.

※ ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019"
※ Macrotrends, "Japan Education Spending 1981-2020"

Japanese Government’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology or MEXT (Monbukagakusho) offers a scholarship for international students who intend to study in the universities of Japan. As a government initiative, MEXT seeks to forge bonds with other countries through education. As it serves as an avenue for international exchange, the scholarship program also benefits the country in two ways:

1) it invites foreign human resources, and

2) international students would pay back by strengthening the bonds of their origin country with Japan in different fields including business and technology.

※Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, "Section 5. Promotion of International Exchange"

How to get a scholarship through Embassy recommendation

Admission to the MEXT scholarship programs can be done in two ways: Embassy recommendation or University recommendation. These two differed on how the application procedures are done.

The former requires the qualification for the MEXT scholarship program via the endorsement of the Japanese Embassy while the latter, the application would be endorsed by the host university. In this case, the embassy recommendation is preferable because the coordination could be complied personally. Provided that application through embassy recommendation is set to be completed through the embassy, applicants can easily monitor the procedure all throughout.

Also, there is a higher chance of admission through embassy recommendation because university recommendation follows strict rules with respect to their academic requirements. However, strict rules does not imply any negative meaning towards university application, it is just that scholarship through such application tends to be stringent since Japanese universities strongly uphold academic excellence. Although both have their own positive features, the focus of this discussion would be on the former since its accessibility would be more definite for any interested applicants.

MEXT will initiate annual consultation with every Japanese embassy in different countries that have diplomatic ties with Japan. Afterward, the Japanese Embassy would recommend a shortlist of students who qualified for the program. Ideally, the application process lasts for a year that ends in April, the period when the applicant should be able to arrive in Japan.

To apply for the MEXT scholarship through embassy recommendation, the applicant must submit the MEXT scholarship application form to the Japanese Embassy. The application form covers the personal information sheet as well as the academic background information sheet. The office will then assess the application and determine its eligibility and its competitive status. Afterward, a preliminary screening will be scheduled to interview the applicant. It is in this part that the screening process filters applicants with their respective applications. Assuming that this part has been completed, a certificate of primary screening will be issued.

After the preliminary screening, the applicant should be able to secure a letter of acceptance from the university they wanted to enter. The letter of acceptance (LOA) will serve as an important qualification document that determines the qualification of the applicant within university standards. Upon securing LOA from the preferred university, a final screening will be conducted. Afterward, there will be a 4-month waiting period for the final results.

Benefits of the scholarship

Generally, the scholarship program would cover fees, including enrollment and tuition fees throughout the academic program within a particular Japanese university. Also, the grantee will receive a monthly stipend of ¥117,000 that would cover expenses during the academic career. In addition, accommodation fees will be provided as well. However, it is important to note that the rate is dependent upon the degree program or the field of study. The program would cover travel expenses as well, including fares of going to and from Japan.

One should be mindful that any scholarship program, including MEXT, does have its guidelines and restrictions that would cover the fair share of the program. Students who are delinquent and incurred leave of absence in their respective universities will not receive a monthly stipend from the Japanese government.

※ Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, "Japanese Government MONBUKAGAKUSHO:MEXT)Scholarship for 2015 Undergraduate Students)"


Japan is home to huge possibilities. Ranging from educational to working opportunities, the Asian country sets a standard for maximizing human potential. Given all the pathways to secure an international student scholarship in Japan, it is upon the interested individual on how he or she would take it. The advancing trend of globalization makes boundaries fluid and allow for an extensive exchange between countries. As we head towards a global prospect of development, a present student should be armed with a multicultural background, and Japan would be a great place for its acquisition.

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