Concerns over student visa renewal after decertification of Japanese language school in Fukuoka






Foreign students are seen entering a building housing the Nishinihon International Institute of Education in the Minami district of Fukuoka city on September 13, 2022. (Mainichi/Shizuka Takebayashi)

FUKUOKA — Some of the approximately 630 international students enrolled at a Japanese language school may not be able to renew their visas after the school was stripped of its certification due to alleged human rights abuses, including withholding an exchange student with a chain, he was learned.

Study visas are in principle renewed provided that the school attended by the applicant is specified in the government’s public notice. Although Japan’s Immigration Services Agency has assured that it will “adopt a flexible response” to the matter, students at the Nishinihon International Institute of Education in Fukuoka City’s Minami Ward are expressing concern on this subject.

With respect to the issuance of study visas, the Ministerial Order on the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act requires that, if the applicant is to study Japanese language exclusively, the school be a Japanese-language institution specified in a public notice. The length of stay granted is a maximum of one year and three months and, depending on the school, up to two years for students enrolled in its “College and university course”. Some students are expected to deal with their visa expiring, but it is feared that their visa renewal procedures may encounter a problem due to school decertification.

The immigration agency urges the school to transfer international students to other institutions specified in the public notice, but the agency’s instructions are not binding. This is the first case in the country where an operating Japanese language school has been stripped of its specifications in a public notice. Although the agency said, “We will adopt a flexible response to avoid overburdening students who are not at fault,” it did not reveal details of those measures. Although most students have already paid their tuition for certain periods, some students may not be able to change schools as they wish.






A building housing the Nishinihon International Education Institute is seen in the Minami district of Fukuoka city on September 13, 2022. (Mainichi/Shizuka Takebayashi)

The immigration agency removed the school from public notice on September 7. In a complaint filed through a lawyer, the school insisted the physical restraint of a student was ‘an individual action of a former employee’ who left the school after the case , excluding any organizational nature of the incident. The school then filed a lawsuit with the Fukuoka District Court on September 9, demanding that the agency’s decision be reversed. The school also filed an interim decision requesting that the school’s decertification be suspended. The school remains in operation because it can still give Japanese lessons.

A Nepali student attending the school complained, “I paid a year’s worth of school fees, but I am thinking of changing schools. The school explained the problem to us, but I am not convinced of the human rights violation case. . I’m not even sure I can transfer to another school at this rate.”

Yoshihisa Saito, Associate Professor of Foreign Labor Law at the Graduate School of Kobe University, pointed out: “It is unacceptable that students and prospective students, who are not at fault, suffer a disadvantage for reasons of from the school or the government.” He continued, “Ministries and government agencies other than the immigration agency should partner with the prefectural government to secure places for foreign students to continue their education. in Japan”.

(Japanese original by Ken Nakazato and Shizuka Takebayashi, Kyushu News Department)

Sylvester L. Goldfarb