A Vietnamese woman who lives in Miyagi Prefecture sent a message to the “letters from readers” section of the Kahoku Shimpo expressing a grievance. The letter explained that when she informed the Japanese-language school where she had been studying that she had to cancel her enrollment because of financial hardship stemming from the pandemic, she was about to pay a cancellation fee of ¥3 million, after being pressured by the school to do so.

The school said that it asks for such a fee to discourage students from quitting the school and switching to a work visa, but experts say the approach takes advantage of students’ weak position and is a violation of their human rights.

In November 2020, the woman, who is in her 30s, obtained a student visa, came to Japan and entered the Japanese-language school in Sendai’s Aoba Ward.