110,000 international students waiting to enter Japan

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Chinese student waiting to enter Japan appears onscreen to talk with an Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau staff member on March 4 in Chuo Ward, Osaka.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry announced Friday the results of a survey on about 150,000 foreign students who have obtained residence status but have not been able to enter Japan. Of them, an estimated 110,000 are still seeking entry.

The survey was conducted via universities, Japanese language schools, and other institutions that accept international students. The ministry believes that some of the 40,000 who no longer wish to enter Japan include those who have changed their study destinations to other countries due to prolonged immigration restrictions, and others who have completed their studies only by taking online classes.

As a measure against the omicron strain of the novel coronavirus, the government had, in principle, suspended new entries of foreign nationals from November last year until the end of February this year.

A separate entry scheme was set up to give priority to foreign students, and the ministry began to book airline tickets on their behalf on Friday, with the aim of allowing all applicants to enter Japan by the end of May.

The government will also provide ¥100,000 in emergency grants to students in financial need due to the pandemic, including international students who enter Japan by the end of March.