In Japan, there is a pervasive concern about the low academic motivation of many university students. In an effort to gain some understanding of the factors that might contribute to this problem, the present study examined the motivation profiles of Japanese university students in both locally-based and foreign-based (New Zealand) universities. The participants were 302 Japanese university students (121 studying in Japan, and 181 in New Zealand) who were administered a Japanese translation of the Academic Motivation Scale and a questionnaire. Although the two groups manifested no differences in their apparent motivation toward self-improvement and knowledge acquisition, the Japan-based group was found to be significantly higher in amotivation. The results suggest that this higher amotivation level could be due to the Japan-based students possessing more negative views and outlook, and enrolling for extraneous reasons and not necessarily of their own volition. These findings are discussed particularly in consideration of possible ways of addressing the problem.
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