A new Tokyo-based nonprofit organization will draw up a training program for agencies arranging overseas studies in an effort to curb the growing number of problems between the organizations and the students they send abroad.

The Ryugaku Kyokai association plans to issue certificates to agencies that satisfactorily complete the program and grant them the status of overseas studies counselors.

The association said there have been numerous cases in which complaints to the agencies by students who were dispatched to schools overseas were ignored, making some students feel there was inadequate followup support.

The association, made up of students who have studied abroad as well as representatives of foreign-language schools and travel agencies, decided to try to improve the functions of the agencies as well as respond to complaints.

The National Consumer Affairs Center said it handled 55 inquiries from Japanese studying abroad in fiscal 1993, but the number of inquiries increased to more than 200 in fiscal 2002, which ended in March.

A good number of the problems involve complaints against families hosting students for home-stays, such as one case in which a high school girl studying in Australia said her host family did not make meals for her and left her alone when they went away on trips.

Many students have complained that the agencies that arranged their studies abroad did not respond to requests for help, according to the association.

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