Paul Hastings, executive director of the Japan ICU Foundation led a group of academics who submitted a petition to consul general of Japan in New York Kanji Yamanouchi, asking for a resumption of the issuing of student and researcher visas.
Others who signed the appeal came from Harvard, Columbia, Keio University and Kyoto University, in addition to the UK’s Cardiff University.
Details of the document include how foreign university partnerships “are under strain” because the one-sided nature of the current climate.
Japanese students have now begun to travel overseas to study, while those wishing to travel to the country to study are still unable to gain the documentation necessary.
“Many students cancelled plans, opting instead to study in countries open to international students,” the appeal read.
It went on to say that the decreasing number of international students studying in the country “reverses progress made in the internationalisation” of the nation’s institutions.
According to the Tokyo University of Agriculture of Technology, updated as of October 7, only MEXT and JICA/JICE scholarship students are allowed to enter the country for a new program.
However, visa issuance is still suspended for all other applicants.
Yamanouchi responded when being handed the document that the border closure was “designed to protect the Japanese public” from variants of Covid, and “asked for understanding”.
Students are seemingly giving up on Japan as a study destination; one student from Spain told the Japan News that she “had no idea when I’d be able to enter the country”, and couldn’t keep wasting “precious time waiting”.
The student reportedly instead went to Korea to study Korean in June. Earlier in 2021, an association was set up to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by international students who are unable to enter Japan due to restrictions.
“Many students cancelled plans, opting instead to study in countries open to international students”
Another 278 cases of Covid were reported in Japan on Thursday – with a similar amount as a weekly average – just a few weeks after an extremely aggressive surge of the virus that was “pushing its hospital system” to its limits.