Japan Planning to Return International Students in Phases

Japan Asia COVID-19 International Studies by Erudera News Jan 18, 2022

Japan, Tokyo

Japan is planning to allow international students to return to the country in phases, with 87 government-funded students returning during the first phase of the plan, the Japanese government has announced recently.

As the Japan Times reports, students might be able to enter Japan later this month; however, they will have to self-isolate for ten days upon their arrival. The plan foresees international students to quarantine at hotels arranged by their educational institutions.

During a press release, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that the 87 students are expected to graduate in less than a year; therefore, the government has decided to allow them to enter the country, Erudera.com reports.

According to reports, science students will be prioritized in return phases because their field requires experiments that must be conducted in person.

An entry ban for non-residents is still in effect in Japan; however, Chief Cabinet Secretary said that the exception has been made “considering public interest and the urgency over the matter,” as many international students have started to leave Japanese universities due to the country’s tough restrictions. The government may also make exceptions depending on the case.

“We’ll consider the matter based on the fact that there are students who are close to graduating or advancing to the next class,” Matsuno was quoted as saying.

Moreover, air transport ANA Holdings, President Shinya Katanozaka said that the entry ban is affecting the studies of international students and businesses that employ these students.

 “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,” Katanozaka said last week.

The Japanese government imposed the entry ban on November 2021 and suspended students’ entry due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. It has now decided to extend it until the end of February in order to prevent any further spread of the virus.

The Immigration Services Agency of Japan has indicated that 9,930 international arrivals entered Japan as students during the period between January and October 2021, a drop from 121,637 in 2019.

Other students, representing 90 percent of international students in Japan, are expected to enter soon.

It was previously reported that some 370,000 international travelers were not permitted to enter Japan due to strict border restrictions, 70 percent of whom were international students. Over 650 academics also urged the government of Japan to issue student visas that were suspended due to the pandemic.

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