Japan’s strict border restrictions are causing foreign scholars and students to shift away from Japanese studies, a survey conducted in August by a Japanese researcher in the United States showed, in what could be an alarming sign of “Japan passing” in the academic world.

According to an online survey of about 300 foreign academics and students of Japanese studies in the U.S., Europe and Asia, 186 respondents said there was less scholarly interest in Japan in their countries, while 162 said there were fewer scholars specializing in Japan because of the border restrictions. Respondents were allowed to choose multiple answers.

“These responses clearly demonstrate how this is leading to the decline of interest in Japan as well as distrust of Japan at large,” said Tomoyuki Sasaki, an associate professor of Japanese studies at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, who conducted the survey.