Japan Considers Facilitating Entry for Int’l Students in March

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The Japanese government is considering increasing the maximum of people permitted entry to the country, with students and business travelers being accorded first priority.

“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.

The local reports say that the announcement could be made this week, and the limit of people permitted to enter Japan will be extended from 3,500 to 5,300 per day, with the measure to become effective in March, Erudera.com reports.

Previously, the Chief Cabinet Secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, claimed that his government is aware of the number of requirements for facilitating entry, and they are considering easing restrictions.

“Having the strictest border measures among the G7 (major economies) has given us time to prepare for an increase in domestic Omicron cases,” Matsuno states.

Moreover, international students are encouraged to self-isolate after entering Japan while the top consideration has been given to researchers, engineers and employees under “public benefit” grounds.

In addition, the facilitated entry rules include the reduction of quarantine time from seven to three days. However, a booster shot and a negative COVID-19 test result certificate must be presented to reduce the self-isolating time for the student to be eligible.

The majority of 147,000 international students that have received permission to study in Japan remain overseas due to restrictions.

Previously, a survey by “Education is not tourism” has revealed that 58.4 percent of 3,115 respondents that are international students in Japan said their mental health has been affected, while 26.2 percent said it had declined slightly.

The same source of data reveals that 91.8 percent fewer international arrivals were recorded in Japan throughout 2021, especially compared to the previous year when 353,000 international students entered the country. Moreover, a 90 percent decrease in new international students has been evident in the first half of 2021, as the Immigration Services Agency has revealed, pointing out the detrimental damage caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“They become the bridges between Japan and other societies. They are future policymakers, business leaders, and teachers. They are the foundation of the U.S.-Japan alliance and other international relationships that support Japan’s core national interests,” a letter issued by hundreds of academics and experts in Japan, urging for facilitating entry, reads.

The Easter-Asian country imposed stringent entry rules for non-nationals since November 2021, when health authorities reported the first Omicron case.

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