About 3.85 million people studied Japanese at a record 18,604 institutions overseas in fiscal 2018, with the number of institutions soaring in Asia, according to a survey released this week.

The number of Japanese language institutions jumped 3.7-fold to 818 in Vietnam from the previous survey in fiscal 2015 and nearly tripled to 400 in Myanmar, said the survey by the Japan Foundation, a government-backed organization conducting international cultural exchange programs.

(Students at a Japanese lauguage school in Yangon)

The number of Japanese learners overseas rose 5.2 percent to 3,846,773, led by a 169.0 percent surge to 174,461 in Vietnam, it said.

The survey found a record high 142 countries and territories offering Japanese language education, five more than the fiscal 2015 level. The five include East Timor, Zimbabwe and Montenegro.

The total number of Japanese language institutions abroad was up 15.0 percent from fiscal 2015. Of the 18,604, the highest number was in South Korea at 2,998, followed by Indonesia at 2,842 and China at 2,435. Vietnam and Myanmar came in seventh and ninth, respectively.

Australia, the United States and Brazil entered the top 10 list, ranking fourth, fifth and 10th, respectively.

"The increase in Vietnam and Myanmar reflects our cooperation with local governments over language education measures, as well as the entry into these countries by Japanese companies," a Japan Foundation official said.

Meanwhile, the number of people studying Japanese dropped in South Korea and Taiwan.

"Declining birthrates have apparently led to the decrease in Japanese learners in South Korea and Taiwan," the official said.

Similarly, the number of Japanese language teachers reached a record 77,128 in fiscal 2018, up 20.3 percent from fiscal 2015.

The foundation has been conducting the survey roughly every three years since 1979 under the current format.

It sent questionnaires to 19,926 universities and lower schools offering Japanese language education for the latest survey, compared with 21,325 for the last survey.

Educational institutions for Japanese children were excluded from the survey.