Five-nation crackdown hits half of Japanese-language schools
Japan Times -- Oct 05
New rules requiring greater scrutiny of applicants from five countries have landed Japanese-language schools with that little bit more paperwork.

In February, the Immigration Bureau announced tightened rules starting in July for Japanese-language schools admitting students from Vietnam, China, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The rules, which apply to schools that in 2015 had more than 10 students from the five countries expelled or drop out for any reason, require that new applicants from those countries submit additional proof of their financial means as part of their applications. About half of the nation's 549 Japanese-language schools must now follow the stricter prerequisites.

Until this year, language school applicants had to submit only a bank statement showing they had access to sufficient funds to study in Japan. Under the new rule, students from the five countries must provide additional information about account deposits and withdrawals.

Why the government picked 10 students as the cut-off is unclear. The figure doesn't take into account the size of the language school; neither did the Ministry of Justice publicize its reasoning. Questioned by a Nishi Nippon Shimbun reporter, an Immigration Bureau spokesperson admitted no single reason accounted for the figure of 10, but said the rounded figure would put more than half of such schools in the bureau's crosshairs.

Critics of the plan also say the reasons for singling out these five countries have not been clearly explained. However, in February the Nishi Nippon Shimbun quoted a Justice Ministry official as saying, "There are a lot of international students from these five countries, and the number of these students who are illegally staying in Japan is increasing."

A look at foreign student statistics confirms the Justice Ministry's first claim: The five countries are the source for most language school students in Japan. Four out of the five have also seen a recent explosion in the number of students coming here to learn Japanese.

News source: Japan Times
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