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Japanese overseas students’ mental health “in decline”

Over half of foreign students in Japan said that their mental health “significantly declined” because of their inability to re-enter the country for study.

Over 100 nationalities responded to the survey. Photo: Pexels

"In total, almost 85% said they are mentally affected"

A survey which ran for 10 days found that out of 3,115 respondents, 58.4%  said their mental health “significantly declined”. A further 26.2% said it “slightly declined”.

“In total, almost 85% said they are mentally affected,” said Davide Rossi, CEO of Japanese Agency Go! Go! Nihon, who set up the survey.

“The government should present a clear road map as to how students will enter the country,” he continued.

A petition demanding a relaxation of the rules on international students entering Japan has already gained over 34,000 since it was set up at the beginning of the year by Open The Door Japan.

It comes as The PIE reported in January that the Japanese government continues to face backlash as students, wellbeing groups, and stakeholders, are pushing for a timeline “as soon as possible”.

“It got so bad that I contemplated suicide many times”

“The current border policies are not helping to keep Omicron out,” Rossi told The PIE at the time.

Over 100 nationalities responded to the survey – 46.4% said they had made the decision to switch their studies out of Japan entirely.

More than 27% of those who decided to switch out of study in the country went to South Korea instead, whose borders have generally been more open throughout the duration for the pandemic.

“It got so bad that I contemplated suicide many times,” one respondent of the survey said.

She also told those present at the press conference announcing the results that she should have chosen Korean to study over Japanese.

“Sometimes I feel that all of my hard work would end up in vain,” said another graduate student, Guilia Luzzo from Italy, who made the decision to continue learning Japanese despite her scholarship being cancelled.

Japan is one of a handful of OECD countries, which also includes China and New Zealand, that still have yet to open their borders to international students.

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