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Japan to ease entry ban on new foreign student arrivals in steps

This electron microscope photo provided by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases shows the coronavirus isolated at the facility. (Photo Courtesy of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government is preparing to ease coronavirus-related entry restrictions on new arrivals of foreign students, a source close to the government revealed on Jan. 14.

    The central government intends to ease the restrictions in steps, giving priority to government-sponsored foreign students who cannot advance to the next year of classes or graduate in their home countries unless they earn credits in Japan. The entry of self-supported international students, who account for over 90% of foreign students in Japan, will be allowed later.

    The Japanese government halted new arrivals of foreign students in January 2021 with the exception of government-funded students and some others. It additionally banned government-sponsored foreign students' entry from the end of November last year following the spread of the omicron variant.

    People affiliated with universities and those in the economic community had called on the government to ease restrictions, as Japan's prolonged entry bans have prompted students abroad to choose to study in other countries instead.

    Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said in a Jan. 14 news conference, "We'll consider the matter based on the fact that there are students who are close to graduating or advancing to the next class."

    (Japanese original by Tsumuki Nakamura, Political News Department)

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