Japan to strengthen student eligibility standards for Japanese-language schools

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Close up of male hand writing Chinese and Japanese characters on blackboard. The words in Japanese have random meanings.

Japan’s Immigration Services Agency said Thursday it will toughen eligibility standards for Japanese-language schools that can accept foreign students, effective Sept. 1.

The stricter standards require 70 percent or more students who complete the courses to proceed to universities, get jobs in Japan or certify through outside testing that their Japanese-language ability is above daily conversation levels.

Schools that fail to meet the requirement for three straight years will not be allowed to accept new foreign students.

The tougher standards are aimed at preventing foreign people from coming into the country with a study visa for the purpose of making money, as well as to improve the quality of Japanese-language education in the country.

The move comes as the number of foreign workers in the country is expected to continue increasing with the new visa program introduced in April.

Under the new standards, the requirement for the average student attendance rate will be revised from 50 percent or more in a month to 70 percent or more in a six-month period. Schools failing to meet this threshold will not be able to accept new students.

Foreign students will be asked to inform schools about their part-time jobs, and information about students who miss more than half of classes in a month is required to be reported to the agency.

Japanese-language schools used to have to undergo eligibility checks only when they are established. But under the new standards, they will be checked every year.

The number of Japanese-language schools in the country recognized by the government rose 1.6-fold over the past five years to 747 as of Thursday.

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