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The Case of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University of Japan
Photo by Bui Tuan

APU Opening Declaration

Since the beginning of human history, human beings have attempted to create their own distinctive culture and develop civilizations in the various regions of the world. They have also had to overcome many constraints and obstacles in order to achieve their goal of living in conditions of freedom, peace, and humanity.

The twentieth century was an era of rapid progress and unprecedented advance in the political, economical and cultural fields, as human activity increasingly took place on a global scale. Through the experience of the two World Wars, the United Nations and other international organizations wear formed to enhance cooperation in order to maintain peace and to international understanding.

Given that 21st century will see the emergence of a global society, we firmly believe that coexistence between mankind and nature, as well as between diverse cultures, will be indispensable for the peaceful and sustainable development of the Asia Pacific region. This is why we are now establishing a university here, to nurture the young talent and to create a new academic discipline which will help shape the regions future.

April 1, 2000 therefore marked the birth of the Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), based on a vision of freedom, peace and humanity, international mutual understanding, and the future shape of the Asia Pacific region. The establishment of the University at Jumonjibaru, in Beppu City, has been made possible through the cooperation of the people of Beppu and Oita Prefecture, together with many others both within and outside Japan.

Our hope is that it will be a place where the young future leaders from countries and regions throughout the world will come to study, live together, and understanding each other’s culture and ways of life, in pursuit of goals which are common to all mankind.

The Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University is hereby declared open.

1. The Present Situation of APU

1.1. The Outline of APU

APU opened in April 2000 through the collaboration of three parties from the public and private sectors: the Ritsumeikan Trust, Oita Prefecture and Beppu City. APU was established with the ideals of "freedom, peace and humanity," "international mutual understanding," and "creating of the future of the Asia Pacific Region." Based on these ideals, APU has worked to nurture the development of international young leaders who will shape progress and symbiosis in the Asia Pacific region, to foster Asia Pacific studies, and to create partnership with industry and the community.

APU has been able to press forward thus far thanks to the tremendous support of local government and many others in Japan and overseas. Henceforth, we will look toward the future, as we carry out various new measures under the "APU New Challenge" plan, which envisions the APU of 2010.

2.2. Students

The number of students in 2006, is grand total 4,777 (Int’l 1,929, domestic 2,848).

The number of countries is 75. The Vietnamese students are 113. The following table is member of undergraduate and graduate students on 2005.





College of APS




College of APM




Graduate School of APS




Graduate School of Management ( MBA )








2.3. Multicultural Education and Language Education

Bilingual education

APU is proud of its multicultural and multilingual atmosphere, where students from around the world come to learn foreign countries. With courses held in both English and Japanese, bilingual education is one of APU’s most unique features.

First and second year students can take their foundation subjects in their base language while studying the other language intensively. This method enables students to take classes in both English and Japanese by the time they are in their third or fourth year.

Major subjects taught in English and Japanese also provide students with further opportunities to improve their language skills. Students can thus acquire the specialized skills and advanced language ability vital in the international business and academic words.

Active Learning

APU education stresses the elements of "nowledge" "Experience" and "Exchange". In order to stimulate students it is necessary to provide them with opportunities to gain experiences and exchange, along with classroom lectures. For this reason a program which emphasized practical learning and experience was designed, and "Active Learning" was developed.

"Active Learning" includes domestic and international fieldwork, along with overseas student exchange programs, language research program, internships, field analysis with faculty members, tandem international and social cooperation education, and volunteer research. We strongly urge all students to take advantage of one of these Active Learning programs as part of their 4-year course of study at APU.

Asia Pacific Languages

APU offers classes in six other major languages used throughout the Asia Pacific region, namely Chinese, Korean, Malay/Indonesia, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese. Classes are held 4 times per week, but thanks to the multicultural environment at APU, language study continues outside the classroom. As students interact with both faculty and fellow students from these regions, they are able gain advanced language skills in short period of time.

2. The Teaching and Learning Method

2.1. Undergraduate Course

APS (College of Asia Pacific Studies)

The Asia Pacific region continues to attract attention for its ongoing rapid economic growth. There are numerous negative issues, such as poverty, starvation and disease. APS approaches these problems with an emphasis on learning through experience, which includes fieldwork to fully understand the issues. Students are taught to be pro-active when solving problems, considering issues from the perspective of regions, enterprises, governmental bodies, and individuals.

APS Curriculum: Sociology, Based on International Relations and Area Studies

APM (College of Asia Pacific Studies)

The Asia Pacific region continues to develop at rapid pace. The goal of APM is to cultivate leaders who can create new value for business in the region. After studying the fundamentals of business management, students begin more specialized classes where they acquire the logical and strategic thinking skills that are required on the front lines of international business. APM is also very active in developing internship opportunities to give students real business experience.

APM curriculum: Based on International Management provides for systematic learning in each major field

.2 Graduate Course

World Class Graduate Schools

APU’s fundamental objective is "cultivate young talent for the Asia Pacific Age." In response to the demand for capable human resources with highly specialized postgraduate education, in April 2003 APU established two international graduate schools, which will further develop academic discipline beyond the undergraduate level and cultivate truly international human resources.

Significance of Establishing the APU Graduate School

The fundamental objectives of the APU Graduate Schools are the cultivation of human resources capable of proposing, on international levels, practical solutions to issues involving the Asia Pacific region as well as contributing to the region’s economic, social and industrial development and

2) actively promote the cultivation of human resources for industrial development and international cooperation in the Asia Pacific region while taking an active role in nurturing young talent with respect to the ODA (Official Development Assistance) program in Japan;

3) improve the research faculties of Asia Pacific Studies, which continue to be promote by APU, thereby contributing to the exploration and development of new spheres of research and education, and serving as a future research center of Asia Pacific Studies;

4) contribute to the construction of an advanced center of international exchange, research and education in the Kyushu area, which is actively promoting exchange within the Asia Pacific region. This in turn will further advance one of APU’s basic objectives: contributing to the internationalization and promotion of the community.

Graduate School of Asia Pacific Studies

>Master’s Asia Pacific Studies (GSAM)

The Asia Pacific region’s continuing growth in the 21st century is the combined result of rapid technological developments, socioeconomic advances and globalization. It is important that the region finds a way to sustain its development during this century and discovers how to address the various issues that will arise during the process.

The Masters in Asia Pacific Studies aims to train and educate competent leaders capable understanding and tackling the problem brought on by change. Trough examining current research relating to the Asia Pacific region, the program encourages students to analyze real-world situations facing the region today.

It also aims to establish a fresh direction for education and research…a new approach to Asia Pacific studies intent on finding practical solutions for the region and understanding how they should be implemented.

In addition, the Ritsumeikan Center for Asia Pacific Studies sponsors various seminars, symposia and conferences, inviting experts to speak on current issues affecting the region. Through such events, the program seeks to build a global network of Asia Pacific researchers and make the university a world- class center for Asia Pacific studies.

>Doctorate in Asia Pacific Studies (GSAD)

This program is highly personalized and is designed for those who want to continue in-depth research in the field of Asia Pacific studies. It aims to expand the existing boundaries of the field and facilitate projects that set new standards for future research.

Research should integrate the results of other investigations into Asia Pacific issues as well as individual findings- findings that outline strategic, policy- oriented and practical solutions to issues arising from current development in the region.

>Master’s in international cooperation Policy (ICP)

Providing support to developing nations in the Asia Pacific region is a prerequisite to ensuring sustainable development on the region. The Master’s in International Cooperation Policy provides students with the practical skills necessary for contributing to organizations that work closely with developing nations. As an interdisciplinary study, the program draws upon diverse fields to train creative professionals who can consider issues from multiple perspectives and formulate pragmatic solutions appropriate for the region. The program recognizes the urgency of the current Asia Pacific situation and seeks to tackle current problems head-on with a policy-oriented approach.

The main issues addressed include the following:

1. People & Living Environments

2. Industry Creation & Development

3. Market Economy Reforms

Current developments and problems in international public administration, the environment, tourism, development economics, and other international cooperation policy issues are examined in light of how they directly and in directly affect the areas above.

A graduate of this program will be well equipped to make informed decisions with reaching effects in the Asia Pacific region and the world.

Graduate School of Management (MBA)

>A New Style of Management

The Asia Pacific region boasts a long history that has, until the modern age, largely been uninfluenced by Western thinking. The region’s socioeconomic development has therefore followed a path vastly different from that of the West. Although the 20th century has witnessed a global Westernization and the Internet has condensed the world onto Web pages, the Asia Pacific region retains a unique business style that is often citied by Western businesses as being the most formidable and inscrutable barrier to dealing with the region.

APU’s MBA Program seeks to eliminate this barrier by applying European and American management concepts to focus specifically on the Asia Pacific region. In essence, the program aims to create an entirely new approach to business in the region, a unique management style benefiting the Asia Pacific.

The program centers on the following critical issues facing businesses and industry in the Asia Pacific region:

1. Management Reform

2. Industry Creation /Product Development


The MBA program at APU was designed with the assistance and cooperation of a U.S. business school. However, in the hands of the university’s international faculty, the program takes on a global perspective with a unique focus on the Asia Pacific region.

Students are trained in a combination of management styles that are based on concepts adopted by Western businesses, yet focus specifically on the Asia Pacific, something that few other universities can claim. Graduates of the program will have a solid understanding of how current economic and social developments are affecting business across the region, and how to use this knowledge to pursue their goals.

Students will be able to specialize in Finance, International Business and Technology Management, or choose a variety of course these areas.

2.3. Institute

APU’s institutes are interdisciplinary education and research bodies that allow students to progress logically from the undergraduate to the graduate level. In light of its achievement in education and research to date, APU established the five institutes in order to answer the needs of society and to deal with the major issues of Asia Pacific region. The five Institutes are Tourism and Hospitality; Health, Environment and life Sciences; International Strategic Studies; Information and Communication Technology (ICT); and Language. The institutes established educational programs for understanding commencing from AY 2006. There are plans to also develop Masters and Doctorate programs in the future.

Tourism & Hospitality

Drawing from tourism in APS, this program will promote research of the tourism industry as well as cultural and environmental heritage preservation in the Asia Pacific. This will be integrated with management studies from APM to provide strategic human resources for the sector.

Health, Environment and Life Science

This institute aims to produce human resources who can work on preserving natural ecosystems and maintaining safe and healthy human habitats. By making use of industry networks, these talented individual shall participate in new business venture that will reinvent the field of environmental studies.

International Strategy

With its political and cultural diversity, the Asia Pacific region has some tough diplomatic tasks to handle. This institute will develop leaders that can accurately identify the core issues concerning ethnicity, religion, resources and energy and that can work on solving programs effectively.

Information and Communications Technology

With  a core knowledge of social sciences, information sciences and engineering, this program will develop human resources who posses the skills to create information systems for the promote of sustainable development in the "Information Society of the 21st century".

Language and Culture

With a foundation of sociology and management, this program aims to develop human resources with the ability to understand different culture and societies. Individuals will be able to adapt to the cultures they have learned and recognize their own identity in that culture. They will also gain the problem-solving skills necessary to analyze and research regions from linguistic and cultural angles.

3. Students Activities

3.1. Campus Life Support System

APU, a "multicultural community" is a mixture of the different languages, cultures, and lifestyles of various nations and regions. Its international and intellectual atmosphere will make students’ campus life more enjoyable and stimulating. APU assists students in devoting themselves to their studies and other activities in various ways through the Students Support Center.

Scholarship Programs

Besides APU scholarships targeting international students, APU has various systems to support and encourage students’ lives, including studies, various activities, career development, and post-graduate courses. APU also helps students find appropriate part-time job.

AP House: Assuring an Optimal Living Environment

In order to ensure a smooth start to life in Japan and APU, newly enrolled international students are entitled to spend their first year living in AP House. This on-campus dormitory can accommodate a total of 932 students. A limited number of places in the dormitory are also reserved for domestic students who pass a selection process.

Resident Assistants, or RAs, live together with other students in AP House, providing residents with a diverse range of advice and support. AP house also has facilities to accommodate short-term seminar groups.

Health Clinic to Maintain Students’ Mental and Physical Health

APU has a Health Clinic, where a full-time nurse offers advice on health problems. A Counseling Room is also available where students can go to consult about their anxious and trouble.

Workshop and Other Activities

The Students Support Center periodically holds workshop to deepen students’ understanding about various issues that are associated with their campus life, such as traffic safety and human lights. The Office also organizes events to promote communication among people on campus, such as festivals and sporting events, in cooperation with student staff. A Homestay Program with local residents and support for participation in local exchange events are also provided by the Student Support Center to encourage students’ interaction with local communications.

Support for Student- Initiated Activities

The Students Support Center has staff members exclusively in charge of supporting students who engage in voluntary activities, making full use of APU’s ample cultural and sports facilities.

3.2. Exchange Activities with Local Communities

One of APU’s important missions is contribute to the internationalization and revitalization of local communities. In June 1999, before the university opened, APU presented its "Proposal from APU," with the aim of developing a local network. In the one year since the university’s inauguration, it has received about 150 inquires concerning exchange events with APU students from across Beppu and Oita Prefecture. APU’s cooperation in local school education has been promoted through international understanding classes and other activities. Thus, relations between APU and local communities have been enhanced in various ways.

Community Exchange

In 2005, APU entered into new friendship exchange agreements with Iida City, Nagano Prefecture and Nakatsu City, Oita Prefecture. In total, agreements have been signed with four cities and three regions within Oita Prefecture and elsewhere including Beppu City, Usuki City, Nakatsu City, Bungoono City Mie, Saiki City Tsurumi, Saiki City Kam a e and Iida City, Nagano prefecture. Every year over 1,000 students from Oita prefecture participate in various exchange initiatives.

Participation in Local Events

Many students were invited to local events to promote cultural exchange with local residents. APU students participated in some 160 events during academic year 2005.


Approximately 350 families are registered as host families and more than 130 students experienced the homestay program during the last academic year.

Public Lecture for local citizens

APU Public lectures for local citizens were held five times during the 2005 academic year. Asahi Shinbun editorialist, and chief editor of newspaper’s University Rankings, Mr. SHIMIZU Tateo, delivered the 43rd public lecture on the topic of "Towards Mutual Understanding between Students and Local Citizens". APU "Satellite Lectures" 44 through 47 were held in Usuki City and Saiki City (2 lectures in each venue), as these two cities have cooperative exchange agreements with APU.

3.3. The Career Development System

Career Development and Job Placement

Beyond providing employment information, the Career Office serves as a pipeline linking the career planning of individuals to the needs of society. In the first year, a "Career Chart" is prepared for each student that includes student postgraduate objectives, qualifications, and record of internship participation. In addition to skill development, students can enhance their awareness of career options through career development programs, designed with sensitivity to students’ needs. Students also have the opportunity to fine-tune their career view through participation in internship.

Courses and Lectures

Courses and lectures presented by business people hailing from diverse industries from a part of the curriculum at APU. Students also have the chance to hear information and inspirational corporations through APU’s "Top Executive Lecture series".

Internship Program

The Internship Program at APU runs during the summer and winter breaks and aims to provide students with to gain practical experiences in the work space. Students participate in a wide range of internships both in and outside Japan, including contract internship arranged by APU, privately found internship, and paid internship. APU is currently in the system of introducing a new system where students will be able to gain academic credits for all internships undertaken. To date, over 700 students have participated in internships at over 100 organizations. Approximately half of the students participating in internships are international students. Students have participated at internships at a variety of industries including mass media, eco-business, and governmental organization.

On-Campus Recruiting

On-Campus Recruiting is one of the main ways that APU helps support students in the process of job hunting. Through this unique program companies are invited to come directly to APU to hold company seminars and recruitment interviews and examinations especially for APU students. This program was made possible thanks to APU’s extensive network of companies and organizations as well as the university’s Career Development Program. The 2005 academic year has seen approximately 250 predominantly major Japanese companies and organizations, more than the previous year, come to APU to participate in this program, resulting in job offers for a large number of APU students.

4. The Network of University Activity

4.1. Education and Research Network

The Ritsumeikan Trust has established cooperative relations with 2 3 5 universities and institutions in 4 7 countries and regions of the world (projected as of February 2005). Based on this network, APU offers for study abroad, language training program, joint research, interactive programs for students and faculty members. The academic network will be built up with universities, institutions, companies, NPOs, national governments, local governments, international institutions and prominent researchers worldwide.

(Cooperative Relatuons with Vietnam National University and Institutions)

Ministry of Education and Training Vietnam

Vietnam National University, Hanoi

Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City

Hanoi University of Education

Hanoi University of Technology

Ho Chi Minh City University of Pedagogy

Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology

University of Hue

4.2. International Exchange System

The Ritsumeikan Trust has established cooperative relations with 180 universities and institutions in 45 countries and regions of the world (project as February 2005). Based on this network, APU offers various partnership projects, including exchange programs for study abroad, language training programs, joint research, interactive programs for students and faculty members. The academic network will be built up with universities, institutions, companies, NPOs, national governments, local governments, international institutions and prominent researchers world wide.

4.3. International & Social Network

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee was established in May 1996 to support APU. Its members, including the heads and ambassadors of various countries and leaders of the Japanese business world, have been assisting APU in different ways. The Committee is composed of 287 persons: 8 honorary committee members, 11 international committee members, 62 ambassador members, 5 directors, 3 executive directors, and 198 committee members. (as of Jan. 1,2006)

Academic Advisor

The Academic Advisor support APU in education and research fields. The 57 members include prominent researchers and individuals from educational fields in Japan and abroad. Special lecture are given by advisors to help promote APU’s education and research. (as of Jan. 1,2006)

5. Towards the International Standards

5.1. Admission Policy

Students from not only Asia but from all over the globe choose to study at APU and there are many reasons why. Firstly, there is no educational system in the world like APU’s where students can elect to study in either Japanese or English. Students who are proficient in either of the languages may apply. In the past, international students, even those with superior academic ability, were unable to Japanese Universities because they lacked sufficient Japanese proficiency, but at APU English speakers are more that welcome to apply. Applications are accepted from all over the world!

APU’s international network is disseminating information about APU all over the world. Information is always available at any one of the APU overseas offices in Korea, China, Thailand, Indonesia or Taiwan. Faculty members and office staff regulatory travel to various countries around the world and hold orientation sessions at local schools in order to talk directly with potential applicants. Many of the current students have applied specifically because they had the opportunity to receive information about APU directly through our extensive network.

Furthermore, APU has formalized cooperation agreements leading high schools and government organizations all over the globe, so that outstanding students can be recommended to APU. The APU scholarship program, which is financially supported by companies and individuals from Japan and overseas, also provides financial assistance to outstanding applicants who might not otherwise be able to pursue their studies at APU.

The scholarships are determined by a rigorous academic screening and are awarded to students who have demonstrated strong academic achievement in the past and the potential to succeed at APU.

5.2 Dual Degree System

APU had developed dual degree system with Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IFaS), Universityt of Applied Scienced Trier, Environmental Campus Birkenfeld. The course will be start from September 2006. The Japanesse and German Environmental Management Program is real fusion program social science and engineering. The uniquenes of this program is possible to get Master of Asia Pacific Studies (APU) and Master of Engineering (IfaS)

5.3. Global Active Learning System

APU is focusing its energies on a new type of participatory, on-site educational system called "Global Active Learning." This program incorporates the three basic factors in education – "knowledge," "experience" and "exchange". It is designed to provide opportunities for students to hone their research skills through hands-on, practical learning experiences. Students will be awarded credits through active learning such as fieldwork, project research, internship and service learning. "Global Active Learning" was selected by MEXT as a "2005 Program for the Promotion of nternationalization of University Education (Advanced Overseas Education Project Grant)."

Prof.Dr. Nakagami Kenichi
Vice President, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University [100 Years-VietNam National University, HaNoi]
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