Scholars and academics from around the world have urged Japan to lift a ban on international students from entering the country, warning the consistent ban erodes Japan’s global outlook in education.
Japan’s Consul General in New York Kanji Yamanouchi received a petition on Thursday signed by over 650 academics and students from universities in the US, Japan, Britain, and other countries, urging the authorities to resume issuing visas to international students.
The country, which reported 1.7 million COVID-19 cases and 18,173 deaths, stopped issuing visas to international students in January due to the coronavirus pandemic, Tokyo-based Kyodo News reported. Only those with Japanese government scholarships are allowed to enter the country.
The number of international students entering Japan witnessed a steep fall by 88.5% in the first six months of the current year to just 7,000.
Paul Hastings of the Japan ICU Foundation led a group of scholars who met the Japanese consul general in New York on Thursday, warning the “ban on new visas has eroded the global relationships and reputations of Japan’s educational institutions.”
“While Japan has started sending its students and researchers abroad, the country does not receive students and researchers. The lack of reciprocity damages carefully cultivated partnerships between Japanese universities and schools in other countries,” the petition said.
Japan is the only country among the G7 nations that has stopped issuing visas to international students, said Hastings.
“The dwindling number of foreign students reverses progress made in the internationalization of Japanese universities,” the petition read.
The group added: “The entry ban may result in an overall decrease in interest in Japan within the field of higher education.”