Group of International Students to Enter Japan by End of May, Spokesperson Says

Tokyo airport, Japan

Japan will allow more international students to enter by the end of May, according to a government spokesperson.

During a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno highlighted that about 150,000 international students who possess valid visas remain abroad as they are not allowed to enter the country yet.

However, he added that there isn’t an exact number of students who are willing to enter Japan, Erudera.com reports.

Previously the government said that the total number of international arrivals who will be allowed to enter Japan each day would be 3,500 but decided to increase it to 5,000.

But recently, the government has decided to increase the number of international arrivals in Japan from 5,000 to 7,000, and it has now launched a new program under which priority will be given to international students upon their entry into Japan.

Japanese Education Minister Shinsuke Suematsu said last month that international students should wait to enter the country along with other international travelers, pointing out that it will take time for all international students to enter Japan.  

Japan announced relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions for foreign nationals from March, which according to the education minister, was an important step to allow international students to return to the country.

“We will take into account the scientific knowledge we’ve gained about the omicron variant and changes in the infection situation both at home and abroad, as well as immigration measures in place by other countries,” the Japanese Prime Minister, Fumio Kishida, told The Mainichi.

Previously, the Japanese Prime Minister Kishida, said that Japan would start reopening gradually following the drop in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“We need to start preparing for the next phase, in stages. We are gradually walking toward the end of the sixth wave,” Kishida had said.

This year, on January 30, some 87 government-funded international students have returned to Japan. The country closed its borders from November 30 last year due to the spread of Omicron, affecting international students too.

A survey by the Immigration Services Agency of Japan (ISA) revealed that the number of international students entering Japan from January to June 2021 dropped by about 90 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels or the first half of 2019.

According to the survey, in the first half of 2021, some 7,000 new international students entered Japan, a decrease compared to 61,520 new students in Japan during the first half of 2019.

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