British students have been given the go-ahead to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admisions Service and receive standard mandatory awards covering tuition fees to study at a small private Japanese college based in Reading.
Gyosei International College last week launched an Anglo-Japanese business studies programme for Japanese and non-Japanese students. Validated by City University, the BA honours degree in business culture and language studies will be bicultural and bilingual, and British students will be given intensive Japanese language training, even taking some business modules in Japanese.
Reg Hunt, the college's academic coordinator, said the campus was "a mini Japan". Studying there would give British students an advantage in the employment stakes, especially those choosing a Japanese-owned or Japanese-based company.
About 30 places will be available to British and other non-Japanese students with BBC grades at A level. The college has advertised widely in other English-speaking countries, including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and the United States. These students will join around 300 Japanese students and 60 academics from Japan, the UK, US, China and India.
Gyosei, which has its roots in a Tokyo missionary school founded in 1881, is the first Japanese institution of higher education in the United Kingdom. Other university town-based Japanese colleges like Durham's Teikyo University do not offer a UK validated degree. Backed by Japanese businessman Takashi Nozu, the Reading college admitted its first students in 1989, and now an associated institution of Reading University, the college offers a range of City University business degrees, a Reading sociology diploma and a Buckingham University MBA.
* According to a survey by the Anglo-Japanese Economic Institute some 88 centres in UK universities have links with Japanese universities and companies. University College London has the strongest links, with some 48 research projects.