Education minister Hakubun Shimomura unveiled Wednesday a plan for the government to provide scholarship to help high school graduates take part in short-term overseas study programs that would fill the period after graduation if universities shift their admissions to fall.
In a speech delivered in Washington, Shimomura said, "There will be a half-year period after (students) graduate in March until fall admission to university. The state will provide grants to those students going abroad during that period."
Some universities in Japan are taking steps to change the admission season to fall from spring in line with many schools in Europe and North America.
At a news conference after giving the speech, the minister indicated that the grant plan would not be implemented anytime soon, given that it would take several years for universities to move to a fall entrance system.
He also said that it would not require a big budget because not many schools are changing their academic year. He added, "You can study abroad for several months for about 300,000 yen per person."
Those taking part in internship or volunteer activities abroad are thought to be ineligible for the planned grants.
During his visit to the United States, Shimomura held talks with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and they agreed to cooperate in doubling the number of Japanese students studying in the U.S. and U.S. students studying in Japan.