The Japanese government recently allowed 80+ international students to return and enter the country to complete their education. Only a handful of international students will be allowed to return in phases after a 2- year uncertainty over border restrictions imposed by the government.
The decision came after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met with government officials and representatives from Japanese universities in Tokyo. Kishida previously said that Japan plans to maintain its strict border restrictions, barring almost all new entries by foreign nationals until the end of March 2022.
The government has since decided to “consider the matter based on the fact that there are students who are close to graduating or advancing to the next class,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference.
Other international students (that make up 90% of the country) will be allowed back in after. There are currently about 6,000 foreign students in Japan. The government will reportedly allow 87 government-sponsored international students to travel to Japan.
Japan has been making exceptions for some non-Japanese students since the government announced its highly controversial decision to reinterpret Japan’s Constitution, giving itself the authority to engage in collective self-defense.
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Due to COVID, It is expected that a limited number of international students will be accepted on a case-by-case basis once they graduate. The government will also consider accepting students who are close to finishing their studies or have finished their studies.
The government will reportedly allow international students studying at Japanese universities to return if they are in the following categories:
- Those who have finished their study programs and graduated from universities in Japan
- Those who are currently studying at Japanese universities and have been accepted into master’s programs or doctoral programs
- Those who are currently studying at Japanese universities and have been recognized by academic institutions as accomplished researchers with outstanding intellectual ability
As more Japanese institutions reopen their doors following the pandemic, there has been concern that many foreign students may not be able to return to Japan due to travel restrictions and quarantine measures which may prevent them from attending classes in person. The decision was prompted by academic circles voicing concern online that an increasing number of prospective students were giving up on studying in Japan because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following a meeting with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi and Education Minister Koichi Hagiuda, the Japanese government is expected to formalize its decision by the end of the month. The exact details behind the decision of the Japanese govt allow international students to return are not out yet.
The Japanese government’s rules are “affecting foreign students and businesses that employ foreign workers,” air transport ANA Holdings, President Shinya Katanozaka said last week. “I hope the government will balance both effective infection controls and social-economic activities from a scientific viewpoint,” he said in a statement following an extreme reduction in international flights.
Considering the importance of international students and their impact on the Japanese economy, the government is reviewing its border restrictions and policies to allow students to return to the universities and campus. To know more about the study abroad news, follow Leverage Edu and assign up for our newsletter to stay ahead of the crowd!