Japanese language school hopes for early return of overseas students

The principal of a Japanese language school near Tokyo has expressed hope that all foreign students will soon be allowed to study in Japan again.

The Japanese government has said it will gradually ease its strict border restrictions from next month. The restrictions are designed to prevent outbreaks of COVID-19. Foreign newcomers are currently not allowed, in principle.

The school is located in Narita City of Chiba Prefecture. It has received few new students in the past two years, due to the pandemic. It now has only 40 students in total. That’s about a tenth of the number he had before, and nearly all of those students are expected to graduate next month.

Yokota Yuhi is the school principal. He spoke with a potential student in Malaysia earlier this month.

The student told Yokota that he was now exhausted and unhappy. He said he had been waiting for a year and still couldn’t make it to Japan. The student added that he had basically abandoned his plans to study in Japan and applied to a Taiwanese university instead.

Yokota welcomed the government’s decision. But he said the move was not enough. He pointed out that more than 140,000 foreign nationals are now waiting for visas to study in Japan. The daily cap on the number of entrants, including foreigners, will only increase from 3,500 to 5,000 initially. Yokota said many overseas students still don’t know when they can come to Japan.

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