06/20/2019, 13.37
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In three years, 1,610 foreign students missing

Japan’s Education Ministry inspected Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare campuses. Of the missing students, 1,113 were non-regular research students. Many students could not extend their visas due to too much part-time work. The University says “We were betrayed by students who we rescued.”

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – More than 1,600 foreign students have gone missing from a Tokyo-based private university, Japan’s Education Ministry announced on 11 June.

According to the authorities, the disappearances occurred because the Tokyo University and Graduate School of Social Welfare (TUSW) readily accepted foreign students without adequately managing their enrolment. For this reason, it was ordered to stop accepting non-regular research students.

Government officials conducted five on-site inspections at the university’s four campuses in Tokyo, Gunma Prefecture and Nagoya between March and May. They found that 305 foreign students went missing in fiscal 2016, 482 in fiscal 2017 and 823 in fiscal 2018.

In fiscal 2018, the number of research students reached 2,656, which accounts for more than half of the total foreign student population of 5,133. Among the missing students over the three fiscal years, 1,113 were non-regular research students.

The inspections also revealed an inadequate study environment: restrooms and storage inside makeshift classrooms were the order of the day.

The university said that foreign students asked them for assistance and so were accepted as one-year, non-regular research students because many can’t go elsewhere, like vocational schools.

TUSW noted that it was unable to place all students in main school buildings, which led to temporary makeshift measures.

One reason for the increase of missing students is that “they were unable to extend their student visas due to too much part-time work and they ended up not coming to school.” According to the university, “We were betrayed by students who we rescued.”

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