Things are looking pretty grim for Chinese students who have their sights set on pursuing their Japanese language studies here.

According to a poll conducted by The Japan Times, the Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau has denied visas to more than 70 percent of Chinese students who have applied to study Japanese here in the coming academic year.

The paper last week contacted 355 of some 400 Japanese language schools nationwide, asking them how many "precollege student" visa applications they had filed on behalf of prospective students for the school year beginning in April. A total of 122 schools had responded to the fax/e-mail survey by Tuesday.