National

After university loses contact with hundreds of foreign students, Japan plans penalties for schools

JIJI

The government plans to penalize universities with many foreign students whose whereabouts are unknown, it was revealed Thursday.

The move is included in a draft of the government’s response to the issue, which came to light following the recent revelation that about 700 foreign students from Tokyo University of Social Welfare have been missing since April 2018.

According to the draft, the education ministry will hold hearings with or inspect universities with many dropouts among foreign students, if necessary. If the universities fail to meet its instructions for improvement, the ministry will label them as “lacking the proper management of students.”

The education ministry will also report such universities to the Justice Ministry. Following the reports, the Immigration Services Agency will apply tougher standards in screenings of visa applications from the universities’ prospective students.

The agency will also consider shortening the length of visas for the universities’ students to one year. Normally student visas are valid for four years and three months.

Furthermore, students at the problematic universities will be required to present documents including scholarship and bank balance certificates.

The government aims to implement the planned measures at an early date.

It is also considering taking measures against students at Japanese language schools, demanding the schools report on their students’ part-time work, which is limited to 28 hours a week or less. The government aims to implement the measures on such students after hearing public comments later this month.