Japan tightens rules on student residency requirements

The Japanese government has revised a Justice Ministry ordinance to tighten rules for granting student residence status. This comes after it came to light in 2019 that a university in Tokyo had lost contact with more than 1,600 of its foreign students.

Under the new rules revised in April, educational institutions must have adequate enrolment management in place to accept international students. The required measures include properly keeping track of the students' attendance and part-time job records.

If a school fails to meet the requirements, student residential status will not be granted to foreigners it has accepted until improvements are made.

Those who plan to learn the Japanese language must be enrolled at a language school certified by the government. Student residence status will not be issued for those who study the language as research students or auditing students.

The Immigration Services Agency says the number of international students visiting Japan dropped more than 90 percent due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the figure rose above the pre-pandemic level to more than 167,000 in 2022.

The immigration agency says the revision is aimed at accepting foreign students in a stable and smooth manner.