Japan unclear on when to allow foreign students back
Under severe criticism for keeping out foreign students and faculty under its coronavirus protection entry ban, Japan is hinting at plans to start relaxing the rules from August.

But a lack of clear policy, including a specific entry date for foreign students and teachers, continues to worry university management amid concerns over the status of their studies, research and jobs.

This contrasts with others such as Taiwan, which never had a complete campus lockdown, and Singapore where universities are now reopening. These countries will allow in foreign students and researchers from this month and August respectively, under strict quarantine conditions that will be completed in time for foreign students to start the new semester.

Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said on 10 July that Japan will start discussions with countries seeing declining coronavirus infections and high demand for business trips. The entry ban was imposed on 3 April with 129 countries on the list.

The easing of travel restrictions will be in stages and cover 10 countries including China, South Korea and Taiwan, Japanese media reported. The conditions for entry are that foreigners must submit negative COVID-19 test results.

Some foreign residents are allowed to return under special conditions such as for humanitarian reasons. But the foreign minister also said Japan would prioritise “business travellers and international talent Japan is in need of” before easing restrictions for foreign students and eventually for tourists.

The lack of testing capacity in Japan has been highlighted by Japanese media. Japan’s Kyodo News service reported on Friday that China and South Korea could pose a larger challenge because of the sheer number of people that could potentially come to Japan.

Aug 10
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Aug 09
Japan is Asia's first industrialised economy, yet it ranks 121, below Angola on the Gender Gap Index. (CNA)
Aug 08
Teachers and education officials are calling for students to pay special heed to the risk of heat exhaustion this summer as schools across Japan shorten their summer holidays and hold more classes than usual to make up for closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic. (Japan Times)
Aug 06
The population of Japan has fallen for the 11th straight year. The amount of the decline has set a record for six years in a row. (NHK)
Aug 05
NHK will reduce the number of its satellite television channels from the current four to two. The public broadcaster announced Tuesday it also plans to consolidate its two AM radio channels into one. (Japan Times)
Aug 05
The government said Tuesday it has been allowing the entry of foreign nationals teaching at international schools and their families as exceptions to the travel ban imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. (Japan Times)
Aug 04
The Ministry of Justice will update the English translations of Japan's business-related laws and regulations. (Nikkei)
Aug 04
Students in Japan are having a much shorter summer break this year to make up for classes that were cancelled in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Aug 03
Data compiled by Japan's welfare ministry shows the proportion of male workers who took paternity leave in 2019 edged up from the previous year but still remained low. (NHK)
Aug 02
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