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Japan: academics appeal for visas to be issued

Top academics from universities across the globe have issued an appeal to the Japanese government to begin issuing student visas, which was halted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decreasing number of foreign students “reverses progress made in the internationalisation” of the nation’s institutions. Photo: iStock

Details of the document include how foreign university partnerships “are under strain” because the one-sided nature of the current climate.

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.

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2 Responses to Japan: academics appeal for visas to be issued

  1. Japanese nationals can return to Japan whereas foreign students cannot enter. So Japanese nationals cannot carry covid variants into the country? I have zero understanding for Yamanouchi’s explanation (echoing the Japanese government). What speaks out of him is pure racism-nationalism. Everyone should boycott Japanese products to seriously hurt the Japanese economy to stop this xenophobic nonsense border closure.

  2. The situation with the entry restrictions to Japan is quite unbearable. It is frustrating to see other countries opening, even for tourism, and not be able to enter Japan for study. I have been waiting since 2020 to obtain a visa for a master’s degree, and it has been impossible to complete the process. At least, back in 2019, just before everything fell apart, I managed to obtain an electronic visa for short-term visits to Japan (I leave the link here in case you need the info: https://www.visasjapan.com/visa-requirements/colombian-citizens/), and I’m planning to make quick travel to Tokyo as soon as I’m able to travel there. That way, at least I can get in touch with the University and try to make the process faster once Japan reopens for international students.

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