national

Japan to stiffen rules for foreign university student enrollment after 1,600 go AWOL

48 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© KYODO

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
Login to comment

free students from their busy part time jobs, Japan can "create an environment in which foreign students can focus on studies without worries."

I'm pretty sure those students didn't leave because their part time jobs were too tough. Sounds like enrolling in a Japanese university is a good way to sneak into the country.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Crack down on the 専門学校. Those places are visa mills.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

The Tokyo University of Social Welfare, founded in 2000, had been accepting relatively small numbers of foreign students for years but expanded the number to about 1,200 in the 2016 academic year, about 1,900 the following year and over 2,600 in the year ended this March.

Sounds to me like there is some major fraud going on here. The university had dropping enrollment numbers, couldnt hire staff, needed money, and saw an opportunity to make some quick cash off the public dole.

I wouldnt just cut their funding, I would pass it to the public prosecutors, but I doubt the ministry wants to take that step because then they would have to investigate all the schools they fund, and I will bet that this is just the tip of the ice-berg here and NOT just about foreign students either.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Making a quick buck off ‘cool Japan’ and it soon goes pear shaped....

6 ( +7 / -1 )

I agree with Yubaru, there were and still are far too many small universities that were allowed to start up as a favor to some politician that just do not have the student numbers, so what do they do? Bring in a large number of foreign students who have no intention of studying but use it as a way to circumvent the immigration process.

This is pure fraud and also immigration rule breaking. These schools should be doubly punished.

10 ( +12 / -2 )

There have been similar problems in the UK in recent years, with certain small Universities being used as gateways for illegal immigration.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The ministry said it will consider reducing or withdrawing subsidies for the private university

The government shouldn't be subsidizing private institutions to begin with, especially diploma mills that treat their students like customers buying a useless degrree. And if the ministry is subsidizing such universities (in name only) they should have been exercising broader oversight from the word go. Our tax dollars at work.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Japanese private colleges and universities, which increased too many, are facing serious financial problems resulting from shortage of enrollment of students due to population decreases. Those colleges are entrance free. They accept all applicants. Some say if applicants write his or her name correct on the entrance examination papers, they are accepted. If not, colleges go broke and teachers will lose their jobs.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

We all know that for the most part student visas are just a means to an end for people who are desperate to come to Japan

6 ( +6 / -0 )

They've just seen the stupidity of it all. And the govenment's fraud.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Tracking bracelet.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Must hunt them down and deport them. I can picture a new reality series... Inu the Bounty Hunter. Of course, the hunter would have to be cute.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

We all know that for the most part student visas are just a means to an end for people who are desperate to come to Japan

Exactly! The best way to solve the problem is to change the law so students can't work on student visa.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Expecting students to come to Japan for study and fellowships and then placing too many restrictions on them is not the correct way. Like in other countries, they can work for a limited number of weekly hours. The situation should be how to improve it not how many more restrictions can be placed om them which probably won't change anything. There are something like 60,000 illegals or visa overstayers.

The government provides some level of funding for all educational institutions and schools including international schools for children.

Maybe the courses promised didnt reach the expectations of the students. Stricter control over what courses universities can provide for foreign students and fellowships.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It's easy to solve. Give them 3 month visas. Don't show up for school? Fine. Your visa won't be renewed and you will then be an illegal "overstayer" and deported once your are found. You lose all your tuition. Bye-bye!!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Agree with MarkX.

Lakeland University?! Seriously?!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Your local combini needs a slave. Since he/she works and smile at you, all is fine.

Go back to bed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Don't see how 1600 is a big number. In my state of California, I bet there are at least 1600 Japanese students in phony language schools. LOL, I met and married one 8 years ago.

Japan always manages to come across a bit intolerant toward non Japanese. Don't see how this is going to work well for the nation as they age out.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

I thought it was very obvious things needed to be tightened

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I remembered dozens doing the same after the Aichi World Expo in 2005. You invite the World on lax visas and this is bound to happen. Just watch what happens in 2020 and 2025.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Most see this for what it is, BUT the govt KNOWINGLY has allowed these ""universities"" to set up...…………..but not really for education, but to bring in workers for retail, small factories etc etc.

BOTH govt & "schools" know this but it is of course unwritten so the locals wont get anti student\worker

This particular "uni" just got sloppy "forcing" the govt to act...……..after a while it will be back to bi as usual, offer some visa ALLOW foreigner to WORK!  THAT is what this is all about

Oh forgot one bit, the ldps pals as said "unis" get to score some easy $$, but its all going south now with the population decreasing this little BUSINESS is being exposed from the shadows so they have to pretend to do something about it, wont last long, mark my words!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Happens in all developed countries. Foreign,cashed up students are big business, they bring a lot of $ (they're often charged higher fees/rents than locals, work for less etc) that's why govts keep turning a blind eye to the pbm.

Again hypocrisy in plain sight.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This "university" is notorious. It has been in trouble numerous times in the past. The founder was convicted of predatory sexual harassment and served two years and ten months real jail time (not a suspend sentence). When he got out of the slammer, he received several big payouts from the "university" and returned to its board of directors.

I often cycle past its Oji "campus" which is a single building. I've never seen anyone going in or out, least of all anyone who looks like a student.

This link documents the charges against and criminal conviction of the founder.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/中島恒雄

The 不祥事 (scandals) section of the following item describes the many rule violations of this "university".

https:// https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/東京福祉大学

1 ( +3 / -2 )

They also discovered the university was short-staffed and failed to provide support to students who had missed classes over a prolonged period.

From all the information about foreign students going missing this is the most alarming. Tertiary and private secondary education in Japan is all about money and reputation. It has very little to do with education. Once they have the money they don’t care what happens to the students. They’ll just fiddle these scores to push them through to graduation. I’m quite pleased to see many students could pay their tuition. It’s a good payback for all the ones who are getting ripped off in a false education system.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They are acting dumb. No is addressing the bigger issue here. Mass migrations are destructive to society. They keep this up there will be nothing left from Japan and its culture.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Question: How do you get along in Japan as a "missing foreign student"? I am on a temporary visitor visa, own a japanese company with significant capital, have all the documents to proof this and cannot even get a cell phone contract/rent a mansion/get a bank account. Everytime I check into a hotel/rent a car my passport is checked, if I am staying legally.

So: How can this work technically?

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Jens Zier

So: How can this work technically?

Go and find yourself a visa lawyer who can answer all your questions and take action on your behalf.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think government should also inspect workplaces here in Japan to catch all the illegal gajins. Most of the foreigners sing up to the university just to get visa. They don't respect the rules as they know exactly how many hours they can work and that the main purpose of their visit to Japan is to study and go back to their countries after they graduate.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

stiffen? how about anyone not showing up for more than 2 days is due for deportation unless valid reason provided supported by documentation ?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Alex I think you don't understand there are gajins that live illegally for years in Japan. I think government should remind to foreigners that they are only visitors here in Japan and any disobedience will be punished heavily. Beside there should be no reasoning with Immigration Office, you overstayed you out. You broke Japanese law you are out. Let's face the facts gajins are taking advantage of Japanese kindness and wellbeing.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Question: How do you get along in Japan as a "missing foreign student"? I am on a temporary visitor visa, own a japanese company with significant capital, have all the documents to proof this and cannot even get a cell phone contract/rent a mansion/get a bank account. Everytime I check into a hotel/rent a car my passport is checked, if I am staying legally.

Something sounds fishy, anyone on a "visitor" or more commonly known as a "tourist" visa, is not allowed by law to work while they are here. Your visa status is something different altogether, and if you have a Japanese company, and "significant" capital, you would more than likely qualify for self-sponsoring your own visa as well.

Those on student visas here are allowed by law to work a set number of hours per week! Nothing illegal about it!

Oh if you have a Japanese company, it has to be registered here, and it seems highly unlikely that you wouldnt have a bank account either. You would also have a residence card as well, so, your story, sounds quite a bit strange.

Like Zichi said without all the questions or comments I made, you should consult a lawyer about your own status and dont ask the JT couch potato crowd for "legal" advice!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Satedaya, I absolutely 100% agree with you... there should be absolutely no immigration leniency , especially if one comes in on false premise. ,no appeals,no courts and hence no immigration custody... ,simply any cash you got on you or in Japanese bank is mobilized to put you on flight to nearest country your passport doesnt need visa to. in case no such funds available.. allocate a place on a vessel to the nearest destination.

and Jens above there.. they dont need any docs.. they rely on compatriot networks that can get you anything sorted, from housing to mobile to forged docs.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

I'm always amazed when foreigners start laying down the rules for other foreigners about how long they should stay, just deport them, maybe just all foreigners, altogether, that would solve the problem. Close the borders once again and shut the country off from the rest of the world. Ban all international flights, in and out.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I've got a technical question: if those "students" overstay their visas, how can they work in Japan without any visa at all?

How do you live in Japan if you are illegal?? Do you work in the black market or what? How do you even rent an apartment?

In order to do any basic thing you need documents and IDs, so I don't get how they can stay below the radar and just not get caught.

Sounds like the government should enforce better control on visa holders and their expiry.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've got a technical question: if those "students" overstay their visas, how can they work in Japan without any visa at all?

Like in any other country, they stay under the radar, work in cash paying jobs, and network with people who are in similar situations.

There are supposedly somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 people, living here on expired visas, if statistics from the government are to be believed, and Immigration is evidently aware as well, but has done nothing to stop it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru/zichi - Please excuse I didn't go into detail abount my situation: I have an immigration lawyer of course and I have applied for a self-sponsored visa. It's just that it takes up to 6 months to process and because of several reasons I prefer to spend most of the waiting time here instead of my home country (business needs to be set up, etc.). There is nothing fishy/illegal about it. "Working" is not allowed, but you are allowed to attend meetings/sign contracts, etc.

I respect the laws here in every aspect!

For me - personally - it is just a bit frustrating that the process takes so long, since I do want to work, I do want to rent a nice apartment, maybe buy a car instead of renting one, etc. But everywhere I go I get turned down with "that is not possible with a temporary visa, you have to get the real one first" - even if there is no law that would prevent any landlord from renting to a company - wether the director has a long term visa or not (I even suggested paying 6 months in advance so they wouldn't have to fear I am suddenly leaving)

So my technical question was really just that: I wondered how you can get by here as an illegal immigrant when you are beeing checked at every opportunity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For 30-40 years they have turned a blind eye to 'students' attending some of these mostly bogus colleges, working all the hours they could with a bare minimum of study and little incentive to 'graduate', as small local businesses, restaurants and bars needed the cheap labour to survive. Reciprocally, the students sent a lot of that money back to their home country. Wait for these small business owners to start complaining....

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Jens Zier

So my technical question was really just that: I wondered how you can get by here as an illegal immigrant when you are beeing checked at every opportunity.

Illegals can get by if they are part of their community, for instance, say Chinese or Vietnamese. They could live with some one who has housing, and also work illegal for restaurants or companies.

They could also obtain false papers and ID. They could evade the authorities for decades or be caught tomorrow and deported.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've worked with someone who said she studied Japanese for 1 year. The she paid a handsome amt to change her student visa to working visa. Her compatriot who is a long time Jresident facilitated the docs. I can't help shaking my head seeing her do whatever she "can" just to assimilate. Any workplace with them around is a rat race. Pity me who can't do what she "can".

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan should open its Universities to the world outside, especially to Asians to have close cultural and value systems.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I'm a student myself. What's so wrong about allowing us to work and study at the same time? Yeah, there are some who stop going to school and just go missing with the aim of making money. They are only a fraction of international students. Doesn't mean all of us are the same. Almost all of my friends try to pay their own tuition fees without their families' support. Is that wrong? None of them quit the school without graduating.

I would suggest helping those students learn Japanese well, open counseling centers, help them find a part-time job, listen to their troubles as a friend (not as an official bueraucrat). Stop treating us like rich and spoiled kids, most of us want to live an independent life here, making our own beds. Japan only wants rich kids who can afford living here. What about ordinary people? In the age of declining population, wouldn't self-supporting students both help the university and the community around it? I prefer hard-working, decent students who really contribute to the local community rather than party-going brats.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

 What's so wrong about allowing us to work and study at the same time?

You can work, up to what, 30 hours per week? You are here as a student, at least that's what your visa says too right? "Student Visa"

 Stop treating us like rich and spoiled kids, most of us want to live an independent life here,

You know why? Typically students who study abroad in Universities are expected to pay their tuition, or at least a large portion of it up front, so, with the cost of university education being what it is, it is very easy to assume that people who are living and studying abroad have money!

You may be the exception to the rule, and one thing you should learn real quick about Japan, is that things dont change here for YOU, you have to learn to adapt to here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But everywhere I go I get turned down with "that is not possible with a temporary visa, you have to get the real one first" - even if there is no law that would prevent any landlord from renting to a company - wether the director has a long term visa or not (I even suggested paying 6 months in advance so they wouldn't have to fear I am suddenly leaving)

You arent looking in the right places. Try daily, weekly, or monthly mansions, like LeoPalace or some other place like that.

So my technical question was really just that: I wondered how you can get by here as an illegal immigrant when you are beeing checked at every opportunity.

Not everyone gets "checked at every opportunity", before I became a naturalized citizen here, I could go literally years without having to pull out the "gaijin toroku shomei sho", the predecessor to the current residence card. I only used it when I got hired for a position, and once when I was renewing my drivers license, and one time, travelling back into Japan.

It is not hard to keep one's head down here, and if you live in an area with a large foreign presence, it gets even easier.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Most of the people who are in the U.S. illegally likewise came into the country legally, whether as students or tourists. It is much easier to come into a country legally, and then disappear, than to try to sneak in illegally.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Catch them, expel them. If they truly came here for university, they would be enrolled, attending and paying for classes. There is no "um, I forgot to enroll, sorry." Get them out of Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Oh sorry, downvoted. I meant to say, foreign students who just want to live here but not attend school...welcome, enjoy, don't worry about the fraud you are committing. #forgiveandforget. Is that better guys?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I'm a student myself. What's so wrong about allowing us to work and study at the same time? Yeah, there are some who stop going to school and just go missing with the aim of making money. They are only a fraction of international students. Doesn't mean all of us are the same. Almost all of my friends try to pay their own tuition fees without their families' support. Is that wrong? None of them quit the school without graduating.

I would suggest helping those students learn Japanese well, open counseling centers, help them find a part-time job, listen to their troubles as a friend (not as an official bueraucrat). Stop treating us like rich and spoiled kids, most of us want to live an independent life here, making our own beds. Japan only wants rich kids who can afford living here. What about ordinary people? In the age of declining population, wouldn't self-supporting students both help the university and the community around it? I prefer hard-working, decent students who really contribute to the local community rather than party-going brats.

1) You are on a student visa (if here legally). You are allowed to work 28-30hrs/week (whatever it is), but it's up to YOU to come here with enough money. If you can't survive on whatever money can be earned in those allowable work hours, then go back to your country to save more money, ask your family for assistance, or more honestly, you should have rethought your decision to come to Japan, and rather attend a school in a country you can afford to live in.

2) Don't think anybody said all international students are the same, but there are enough who are, so when these sizeable number is found out, the others who want to come will suffer. And nobody said it's so wrong whether the students themselves try to pay their own tuition or their families do it. The point is simple - you apply for a student visa, not a work visa. Your main purpose to be here is school. The end.

3) It's not Japan's responsibility or duty to help people who want to come here to pursue something with learning/counseling centers to improve their Japanese abilities. That is YOUR duty since you chose Japan as your educational destination. You chose to attend a college/university which teaches in Japanese and/or is in a country that doesn't use English as its official language.

4) If most of you want to live an independent life in a Japanese speaking country, one would think you would come here with a solid working knowledge of the language (reading, writing, speaking). Nobody is treating foreign students like rich, spoiled kids. But your attitude of wanting the country of Japan to bend to your lack of language abilities - eh. No.

5) Being someone who stays here for a working holiday and gets drunk every night vs some bible salesman on a religious visa - barring getting arrested for a crime, Japan isn't looking at either of you as good nor bad. Neither is better for the community. Actually, the drunk would probably have a much better chance of meeting a future husband/wife here, and paying more taxes, that your holier-than-thou example.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Can't say I have any remorse for someone who CHOOSES to go to another country to study and doesn't have enough money. It's no different than someone complaining about having $250,000 in student loans because they CHOSE to attend an ivy league university. Live within your means.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites