Higher Education Support Project “The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship”

Pathways Japan’s “Higher Education Support” program provides higher education opportunities through the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship to refugees living in Japan or those who have been admitted to Japan being in refugee-like situations and have limited opportunities for higher education.

The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship was established based on the strong will of the donor, Toshizo Watanabe, in response to the fact that the percentage of people with refugee status who go on to higher education is 6% worldwide, which is significantly lower than that of the general youth population. The purpose of the scholarship is to help people with refugee backgrounds to go on to university, to improve the situation that limits their rights and opportunities to receive higher education, to help them find employment after graduation, and to help them realize their dreams.

The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship for Academic Year 2023 Call for Applications (Deadline: January 25, 2023, 8:00 p.m.)

Applications for the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship for 2023 are being accepted from Monday, December 5, 2022 to Wednesday, January 25, 2023. This scholarship is one of the few programs in Japan that provides scholarships (tuition and other fees and subsidies for living expenses) for young refugees who have not yet obtained stable residency status to pursue higher education at universities and graduate schools. It provides a pathway to the future for many young people from Syria, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Ukraine, and other countries who have been forced to flee to Japan due to recent conflicts and persecution, or who find it difficult to return home.

Online info sessions on this scholarship programme will be held as below. If you are considering applying, please feel free to register and join in.
Please register in advance here.
First session: 23rd Fri 7:00-8:30pm Second session 14th Jan 2023 Sat 5:00-6:30pm

Message from Mr. Toshizo Watanabe on the Establishment of the Scholarship

(On the occasion of the establishment of this scholarship, we would like to share with you a message from the donor, Mr. Toshizo Watanabe, to the young people who have gone through the refugee experience.)

I have worked for a long time in the United States, which has hosted many refugees. I have seen many people who fled their home countries, received higher education in the U.S. as refugees, and have integrated into American society. The U.S. has accepted many refugees from Vietnam and provided them with opportunities for higher education, and many refugees are active in American society. The first female Secretary of State, Ms. Albright, who died in March 2022, was a refugee from Eastern Europe. She received her higher education in the U.S. as a child of refugees and later served in the Clinton administration as Ambassador to the United Nations and then as Secretary of State.

Japan has not accepted refugees for a long time, but I want you to prove that refugees who have fled to Japan can also play an active role in Japanese society if they are given the opportunity to pursue higher education in Japan. I have established this scholarship fund in the hope that Japan will become as accepting of diversity as other developed countries. You may be active in Japanese society after completing your higher education in Japan, or you may return to your home country in the future and play an active role there, and that is fine. But in any case, I hope that you will become a bridge between Japan and your home country.

Whatever your dreams are, please make them your own.

Toshizo Watanabe

Program Overview

■Scholarship Benefits

(1) Tuition and Fees

  • 1,700,000 yen or less per year (Other expenses required by the educational institution, such as facility management and maintenance fees, laboratory training fees, etc., will be determined on a case-by-case basis depending on the financial situation).
    *The amount of the scholarship will be determined after taking into consideration the applicant’s financial situation at the time of application and receipt of other scholarships, etc.

(2) Subsidy for living expenses in accordance with regulations

  • 1-2 years of undergraduate study: up to 70,000 yen per month
  • Undergraduate 3 years: up to 60,000 yen/month
  • Undergraduate 4 years and graduate: up to 50,000 yen per month

*The amount of the scholarship will be determined after taking into consideration the applicant’s financial situation at the time of application and receipt of other scholarships, etc.
*Not required to repay the scholarship as it is a benefit-type scholarship.
*Combination with other scholarships: Combination is possible. Efforts to obtain other scholarships, etc. will be encouraged and evaluated.


A person who meets all of the following criteria

  • A person with a refugee background who does not have a status of permanent residence and is living in Japan with a status of residence such as Student, Designated Activities, Engineering/Humanities/International Service, or accompanied family.
    (A person who falls into one of the following categories)
    * Persons who have been recognized as refugees or granted international protection by a foreign government or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) outside of Japan.
    * Those accepted into Japan through the Complementary Pathways Program.
    * Those who are unable to return to their home country due to conflict or political upheaval.
  • Completion of 12 years of formal education in a foreign country or Japan, or expected to complete such education by March of the year of admission, or those who are recognized by the scholarship selection committee as having equivalent or better qualifications.
  • Those who have difficulty in attending higher education in Japan due to economic or other reasons.
  • Applicants must have the basic Japanese language and other language skills necessary for employment after graduation from higher education.
    * Undergraduate applicants whose academic language medium is in Japanese: EJU (Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students) or JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) required subject
    * Undergraduate applicants whose academic language medium is in English: Tests proving the required English proficiency and JLPT N5-4 level or higher, or equivalent.
    * Graduate applicants: Exam score to prove the required English proficiency and JLPT N5-4 level or higher, or equivalent.
  • Those who have been accepted to a university or graduate school, whether before or after being selected as a scholarship recipient for this scholarship.

How to apply

① Download and read the application guidelines carefully to ensure that you meet the eligibility requirements.
② Download and fill out the application form.
③ Prepare necessary documents such as proof of graduation/transcripts, proof of refugee background, proof of language proficiency, proof of financial status, letters of recommendation, etc.
④ Upload the above documents to the online application form by the deadline of January 25th.
Upload the above documents to the online application form and submit by the deadline of January 25. (Deadline is 8:00 p.m.)

Download Documents

Application form

If you have any questions, contact us here.




学部 心理学
大学院 工学
研究助成 保健医療 1
性別 女性
国籍 シリア
移住地 首都圏




【シンポジスト】加藤暁子(公益財団法人AFS日本協会理事長/ 日本の次世代リーダー養成塾)、小川玲子(千葉大学教授)、スヴィドラン・オレナ(日本ウクライナ友好協会KRAIANY)