National

Immigration Services Agency to toughen Japanese-language school standards

JIJI

The Immigration Services Agency plans to strengthen its eligibility standards for Japanese-language schools, it was learned Saturday.

The move comes as Japanese-language schools have been under fire for accepting many foreign students whose purpose is to work in Japan.

The number of Japanese-language schools recognized by the government grew 1.6 times over the past five years to 749 as of April 2.

The government late last year outlined plans to improve the quality of Japanese-language schools as part of efforts to bring in more foreign workers to the country.

Under the agency’s plan, the requirement for the average student attendance rate would be revised from the current 50 percent or more in a month to 70 percent or more in a period of seven months. Schools failing to meet the requirement would not be allowed to accept foreign students.

In addition, 70 percent or more of students who complete courses would have to proceed to universities or to certify through outside tests that their Japanese-language ability is above daily conversation levels. Schools failing to meet the threshold for three consecutive years would not be able to accept foreign students.

Japanese-language schools currently undergo eligibility checks only when they accept foreign students for the first time. Under the agency’s plan, they would be required to undergo checks every year and report outcomes regularly.

The agency would require schools to be aware where their foreign students work part time. Schools would be obligated to report to the agency about the part-time jobs of foreign students whose monthly attendance rate falls below 50 percent.