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Japan gov plans crackdown on missing students

The government of Japan plans to implement strict penalties for education providers who lose contact with their students, after it was revealed one university had been missing up to 700 of its students since April 2018.

Strict penalties will be applied after one university lost 700 students. Photo: Thomas Tucker/UnsplashStrict penalties will be applied after one university lost 700 students. Photo: Thomas Tucker/Unsplash

Those that fail to improve will be deemed "lacking the proper management of students"

“We will give instructions for the school to improve and correct the situation”

According to reports, Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare notified the ministry of education it had expelled the students, but both the university and the ministry were unaware of the whereabouts of the students.

“We will check the records of classes the missing foreign students took and their attendance,” education minister Masahiko Shibayama told Japanese paper The Asahi Shimbun.

“Based on that, we will give instructions for the school to improve and correct the situation.”

In response to the number of missing students, strict penalties will be imposed on education providers which lose contact with substantial numbers of its international student body, the government said in a statement.

Among the measures, the ministry plans to inspect institutions with large numbers of dropouts and provide instruction on how the institution must improve. Those that fail to do so will be deemed “lacking the proper management of students” and referred to the Justice Ministry.

A full investigation into how Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare lost 700 students is underway, but additional reports indicate the Immigration Services Agency plans to implement stricter controls for its prospective students.

ISA is also considering reducing the length of student visas given to attend the university to one year, down from four years and three months. This would allow for greater tracking of the students, as they would have to reapply each year.

Japan has implemented several changes to the overarching policies of its international education industry, introducing an earnings threshold for graduates seeking work in 2018.

The country currently hosts 299,000 international students, just short of its target to 300,000 by 2020.

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