Japan Continues to Keep Its Borders Closed to Most International Students

Japan Asia COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Feb 03, 2022

Japan airport

Most international students have not yet been permitted to enter Japan due to the government’s tight border restrictions for international arrivals.

Japan said it would return international students in phases, with 87 of them entering the country on January 30 and 400 more international students being granted permission to enter, Erudera.com reports.  

Yet, the majority of them still remain overseas due to border rules, although 147,000 international students have received permission to study in Japan.

The Japanese government said that it is planning to allow more international students to return to the country, but due to the spread of the Omicron variant in Tokyo and worldwide, it is not known when international arrivals will access the country in full numbers.

A survey conducted by “Education is not tourism”, a private company helping international students to study in Japan, has found that 58.4 percent of 3,115 survey participants felt their mental health has significantly declined, while 26.2 percent said it has “slightly declined,” according to Kyodo News.

According to data, the number of international arrivals who entered Japan in 2021 dropped by 91.8 percent compared to the previous year, to 353,000. The Immigration Services Agency of Japan has indicated a 90 percent decrease in the number of new international students in the country in the first half of 2021, compared to the same period in 2019.

Japan has seen rising COVID-19 infections, reporting over 70,000 daily cases recently. In total, the country has recorded 2,904,438 Coronavirus cases.  

Due to Japan’s border closure amid the pandemic, many students have been unable to enter the country for most of 2020 and 2021. Students who have been selected to enter so far are funded through the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and should graduate within the year.

Last month, hundreds of academics and experts in Japan had submitted a petition, calling to ease tough border restrictions so students can be able to return to Japan to study and work, also pointing out that the closure is affecting Japans’s international relationships.  

“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,” the letter said.

Japan has imposed an entry ban since November 30 due to the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 globally.

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