Japan should reopen border to international students

The Japanese government is expected to announce new border measures that would allow the entry of international students, ending months of uncertainty for thousands of them.

As early as November 8, Tokyo could roll out new travel rules, which will go into effect within the month, according to early national media reports.

The country will then begin accepting visas for study abroad, technical training and business, Nikkei Asia reported on November 1. In October, around 370,000 foreigners were waiting for the border to reopen, of which around 70% were students and technical trainees, according to the report.

On November 2, in an otherwise poorly detailed announcement, a Japanese government official said the country would make efforts to allow entry of foreign nationals, stressing that it would continue to monitor the situation closely.

The news came a day after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida claimed victory in a snap election. But despite its apparent green light for overseas travel, the government is proceeding with caution.

A former official of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) said Times Higher Education that it could be at least a month before the first foreign students reach Japanese soil, even if an announcement is made in the coming week.

He attributed the mistrust to concerns about potential backlash against incoming students if Covid-19 cases increased again. “The government can be afraid [that] public opinion… could easily blame foreigners bringing viruses, ”he said.

According to the Japanese news agency NHK, students will be allowed to enter the country “provided the company or university accepting them manages their behavior.”

But with an official announcement with detailed plans of Tokyo expected overnight, agencies dealing with students were quick to take care of the paperwork, said Grace Zhu, director of the Chinese branch of higher education consultancy Bonard, which monitors student flows to Asia.

“Parents and students are becoming optimistic,” she said, adding that agencies have started encouraging students to prepare their applications to enter the country by April 2022.

But there are still many unknowns, which universities are eagerly awaiting more details on how a planned reopening might look like.

Talk to THE On November 2, Kazuo Kuroda, dean of the Graduate School of Asia-Pacific Studies at Waseda University, said he had not yet heard from any direct contacts within the government.

But he nevertheless welcomed the expected news. One of the best research institutions in the country and one of the largest Japanese host institutions, Waseda has more than 5,000 international students, many of whom have taken online courses and hope to enter the country.

“I am sure that many of our international students would try to enter Japan as soon as they are allowed to,” said Professor Kuroda.

Davide Rossi, founder of EducationIsNotTourism.com, who has advocated for the return of international students to Japan, has expressed optimism that restrictions will be eased, which he says will affect more than 147,000 students.

In an online video preceding the reports on easing border restrictions, he noted that many students had received notice from universities and language schools to prepare for their entry certificate.

“It has never happened before so consistently [from] so many schools… there is obviously something going on, ”he said.

But talk to THERossi took a darker note, hinting at the damage caused by months of uncertainty over easing border controls. “Confidence in the government is starting to wane,” he said. “But it’s not too late to restore it.”

[email protected]

Source link

About Colin Shumway

Check Also

Money talks: Donors lead the way to restore freedom of thought and expression in higher education – Wirepoints

By: Mark Glennon * A welcome trend is emerging in higher education. Wealthy donors are …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *