30,000 international students have returned to Japan since the easing of COVID-19 measures

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Japan is making gradual progress in bringing international students back to the country who have been unable to return and pursue in-person studies at their universities due to strict COVID-19 restrictions.

As Mainichi reports, Education Minister Shinsuke Suematsu informed that a total of 30,000 international students have entered Japan since last March after the relaxation of COVID-19 measures.

Professor Takakazu Yamagishi, director of the Center for International Affairs at Nanzan University in Nagoya, told Mainichi that Japan should show a “concerted effort” to attract the number of international students again as before the pandemic.

According to government data, in March a total of 110,000 international students were waiting to enter Japan. The government could allow entry to all of these students by May.

The Japanese government has decided to gradually increase the number of international arrivals entering Japan. Since March 14, the country has increased the number from 5,000 to 7,000, a group that includes Japanese and international arrivals.

Earlier it was reported that the total number of international arrivals, including students, that Japan would allow to enter was 3,500.

Japan has not allowed international students to enter the country since April 2020, but eased restrictions in November last year, allowing entry for returning students, business people and Japanese nationals. and international residents.

According to a survey by the Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), an organization providing student services, the number of Japanese students decreased by 98% in 2020 due to border restrictions imposed amid the pandemic.

The majority of international students in Japan came from China and Vietnam, 114,255 Chinese and 49,469 Vietnamese.

“We expect the (coronavirus) infection situation to improve and international travel to resume. We will work to provide information and other support to students,” an official from the Ministry of Education was quoted by the Japan Times.

At a press conference, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said 150,000 international students with valid visas who were not allowed to enter Japan would be allowed entry by the end of May. .

International students stranded abroad expressed their concerns mainly on social media, under the hashtags #EducationIsNotTourism and #JapanTravelBan.

These students reported difficulties with their online courses due to time zone differences and other issues.

A survey by the Japan Immigration Service Agency (ISA) found that 7,000 new international students entered Japan in the first half of 2021. This number, according to the data, in the first half of 2019 was 61,520.

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