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.

As of 2022, the percentage of people with refugee backgrounds who go on to higher education is 6% worldwide, which is significantly lower than the general youth population. Within the framework of the SDGs, efforts are underway in many countries to achieve 15% by 2030. Pathways Japan, through the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship, will promote this initiative in Japan and contribute to the achievement of the 2030 international goals. We believe in the abilities and potential of young people who have gone through the difficult experience of becoming refugees, and we aim to improve the situation that limits their rights and opportunities to receive higher education, to help them find employment after graduation and become independent, and to assist them realize their dreams.

About the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship

The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship was established based on the strong will and generosity of donor Toshizo Watanabe, who hopes that young people with refugee backgrounds will contribute to Japanese society by having the opportunity to pursue higher education and, in turn, become a driving force to transform Japanese society into a country where diverse human capital can flourish. It was established and operated as a scholarship program by the Public Resource Foundation and has been administered by Pathways Japan since FY2023.

The program aims to support young people who have gone through the difficult experience of becoming refugees to continue their studies and to contribute to society in the future by helping them to continue their education at universities (junior college, undergraduate and graduate school). In particular, the program is unique in that it targets refugees and displaced persons with limited-time status of residence, such as studying abroad or designated activities etc., who have traditionally had limited opportunities to apply for scholarships in Japan. We support them so that they can live in Japanese society with peace of mind and contribute to society in the future through higher education and employment.

This scholarship provides annual scholarships on a permanent basis going forward through managing the Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Fund.

1 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.

The Toshizo Watanabe International Scholarship Application Results and Scholarship Recipients for FY2024

1.Application Guidelines
Please see the application website here.

2.Application Status
(1) Application period November 13, 2023 (Monday) to January 12, 2024 (Friday)
(2) Total number of applications 46

3.Selection Committee
 ・Selection Method
A Selection Committee was established to select scholarship recipients and alternates through document screening and interviews with candidates. The selection committee consisted of university faculty, legal professionals, and so on those with extensive knowledge of refugee assistance, humanitarian assistance, and higher education.
– New applicants
Date and Time: February 4, 2024 (Sat) 9:30 – 16:30
Location: Venue in Minato Ward
– Continuing applicants
Date: February 21 (Wed), 2024 13:30-15:30, February 26, (Mon) 2024 18:00-19:30
Online interview

4.Selection Results
The following 12 scholarship recipients were selected as a result of the selection by the Selection Committee.

Country of origin of the scholarship recipient
(individual names are not disclosed)
GenderAcademic Destination and Major
(university name are not disclosed)
MyanmarFemaleFaculty of International Studies
AfghanistanFemaleFaculty of International Studies
MyanmarMaleMaster’s Program (Natural Sciences)
TurkeyMaleMaster’s Program (Sociology)
AfghanistanMaleFaculty of Business Administration (Accounting)
MyanmarMaleFaculty of Engineering (Architecture)
SyriaMaleFaculty of Science and Engineering
AfghanistanFemaleFaculty of Economics (Accounting)
SyriaMaleFaculty of Engineering (Mechanical Engineering)
SyriaFemaleFaculty of Sociology (Psychology)
SyriaMaleMaster’s Program (Business Administration)
MyanmarMaleGraduate School Doctoral Program (Environmental Engineering)

6. Support period
From the date of notification of decision until the end of March 2025 (applications can be made continuously for the following fiscal year)

Scholarship Award Ceremony for FY2023

A report is available here.

Scholarship Award Ceremony and Application Report for FY2022

A report is available here (Japanese only).