Here’s some welcome news for international students dreaming of going to Japan — the Japanese government will allow a limited number of international students to return to the country, government sources said on Friday.
Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida previously said that Japan plans to maintain its strict border restrictions, barring almost all new entries by foreign nationals until the end of February to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
Sources were quoted saying that going to Japan would be possible for international students on a limited basis.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno was quoted saying in a conference on Friday: “We’ll consider the matter based on the fact that there are students who are close to graduating or advancing to the next class.”
A total of 87 government-sponsored international students will reportedly be able to travel to Japan. These students have less than one year left until they graduate or finish their studies and the government decided to allow them in so they can finish their schooling, Matsuno was quoted saying.
Other international students (that make up 90% of the country) will be allowed back in after.
Matsuno said this exception came from “considering public interest and the urgency of the matter.” The government would also consider making exceptions on a case-by-case basis.
The easing of travel restrictions for international students who are planning on going to Japan was spurred by academic communities voicing their concerns online. A large percentage of international students have given up on studying in the country, sparking concern from many parties.
The Japanese government’s rules are “affecting foreign students and businesses that employ foreign workers,” air transport ANA Holdings, President Shinya Katanozaka said last week. “I hope the government will balance both effective infection controls and social-economic activities from a scientific viewpoint,” he said in a statement following an extreme reduction in international flights.
The government-sponsored students who will be going to Japan later this month will have quarantine for 10 days at hotels prepared by their schools, reported The Japan Times.