Annamaria, a 27-year-old Slovakian student of environmental engineering at one of Japan’s top universities, worries she may not be able to submit her thesis before the deadline if she doesn’t return to Japan by September. When she left Japan on March 3 to visit her family during her spring break, Slovakia had no reported COVID-19 infections and Japan had not yet seen a major coronavirus outbreak, either.

What stops her from traveling back to Tokyo is a strict coronavirus-induced entry ban Japan has imposed on travelers from 111 countries and regions, which applies to all foreign residents with valid student visas.

The restriction, which has been met with strong criticism from Japan’s international community, has left many international students stranded abroad, in financial limbo and in fear of an uncertain future.