Japan's Entry Ban

& how it's affecting students who wish to study in Japan


Approximately 3 million people across the world are studying Japanese and about 1% of them aim to study in Japan each year. Due to Japan’s border closures in response to the COVID-19 crisis, these students have been unable to come to Japan for most of 2020 and 2021. Many of these young people have been waiting to enter since April 2020 after years of careful preparations and in some cases even after quitting their jobs or giving up their homes. The purpose of these students is to learn Japanese or study in Japan in order to form meaningful relationships with the country and its people, which ultimately benefits the Japanese economy and intercultural relations with the rest of the world.


We have launched this website hoping to share these students’ stories with the Japanese government in order to encourage a discussion about safe entry for people whose lives have been on hold and who are waiting for answers. Throughout the pandemic, many countries have continued to allow students to enter with proper precautions and no clusters have been generated from foreign students. We hope foreign students will once again be allowed to enter Japan to continue or start their studies. Education is not tourism.

I have been studying Japanese for seven years. I spent the last year stuck at University, keeping paying taxes even if I finished all the exams in Winter 2020 just waiting for Japan to open and let me in, since I am trying to write my MA thesis regarding women contemporary literature in Japan. I dedicated my whole life to Japanese studies, I wanna work and live there in the future, maybe applying for a Phd in Japanese Literature

I would lose one of my scholarship, and I would have to wait another 6 months. I’ve already lost 6 months of my life, several work and educational opportunities. In the worst scenario, I would lose also my second scholarship and one year of my life.

Despite a population of almost 130 million, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry forecasts that the country will face a shortfall of 789,000 engineers by 2030 and this gap can only filled by non-Japanese engineers and as I completed Mechanical Engineering I can fill that gap and together with many other friends from different countries who are dreaming to come to Japan, we can help Japan to grow their economy and develop even more the society.

Are you a student waiting to enter Japan?

Help us to lobby the Japanese government for an answer and a timeframe for when students will finally be able to enter Japan again. Share your story to help raise awareness about the impact the current entry ban has on international students.


2021  Dec 2

コロナ禍の日本留学の扉を開く会 (educationisnottourism.com)

We understand that the suspension of entry into Japan is a temporary measure due to the emergence of a new mutated strain, but as soon as the situation becomes clearer, we would like to make the following requests to facilitate the arrival of the students who have already been waiting for a long time.

  1. Present a clear roadmap on how students will enter the country
  2. Early resumptions of the procedure to accept students in Japan and simplification of the current procedure
  3. Elimination of the “gradual acceptance”
  4. Accepting international students permanently (no discrimination against foreigners, no distinction between privately funded and government-funded students).


1. Present a clear roadmap on how students will enter the country

(a) As a provisional measure, a period of time has been indicated, but no timeline or vision for resumption has been given.
There was a similar announcement at the end of last year that the suspension would last for one month due to the spread of the infection, but the suspension continued for several months due to the holding of the Olympics and the elections.
Because of that, the trust and confidence that international students and related people have in Japan have been damaged.
(b) For students who are planning to study in Japan in the future, it is necessary to present concrete conditions and schedules for easing the restrictions, so that they can make life-changing decisions.


2. Early resumptions of the procedure to accept students in Japan and simplification of the current procedure

(a) The decision on the resumption of the suspension should be made in line with other countries as much as possible, and we expect administrative efforts for the early resumption of the entrance of foreign students.

(b) The decision on reopening during the suspension should be made in line with other countries as much as possible.
We hope that the suspension of immigration procedures will be lifted so that students can enter Japan upon reopening.
(b) As in the previous year, it is sufficient for both the international student and the host institution to submit a written pledge and take quarantine measures. Issuing a written plan for each student (information prior to entry is just a formality since is only provisional) or a pre-screened certificate requires an enormous amount of time and effort, without having any effect on quarantine, and would only slow down a smooth acceptance.


3. Elimination of the “gradual acceptance”
As reported by the group of six Japanese language education organizations, many of last year’s COE holders cancelled their studies in Japan. As a result, the number of students who will be accepted this year will not be as large as originally planned. There will be extra damage to international students who will be further postponed due to this gradual acceptance.

(b) It will not be possible to have a “gradual acceptance” as planned because of n addition to the postponement and suspension of students’ entry, due to the unstable situation of overseas airports and routes, Japan’s phased acceptance will not be as expected.
A limit of 3,500 to 5,000 students per day should be sufficient.


4. Permanent acceptance of foreign students (no discrimination against foreigners, no distinction between privately funded and government funded)

(a) The measure to suspend the entry of newcomers is perceived as discriminatory by foreign countries even without waiting for the WHO’s statement. Japanese nationals and those who have status of residence are allowed to enter and leave Japan, and there is no rational basis for the difference between newcomers and Japanese nationals and those who have status of residence from the viewpoint of quarantine.
(b) Many privately-financed students were shocked by the information that government-financed students will be accepted after the suspension of entry. What is the difference between government-financed and privately-financed students in terms of quarantine measures? Please show us clearly what is your policy.



1. Over 90,000 Olympic athletes are allowed to enter Japan along with media, broadcasters and related staff.


2. Olympic athletes entering Japan are exempt from the usual two-week self-quarantine.


3. Athletes are not subject to a rigorous visa application process.


1. Students are currently not allowed to enter Japan, nor have they been given a timeline as to when they will be able to.


2. During the timeframe October 2020 – December 2020, when students were able to enter the country, they had to present a negative PCR test, taken within 72 hours before their arrival, and they had to quarantine for 14 days. Students from some higher-risk countries also had to spend the first three days of their quarantine in a government facility and were required to undergo additional COVID-19 tests.


3. International students who already have to go through a rigorous visa application process now also need an official school sponsor to sign a pledge stating that they will be responsible for the students after arrival in Japan.

Robin Adams

President of IALC International Association of Language Centres (Canada)

Lin Shunko

President of J'Study (Taiwan)

Yonghwan Kwon

Country Manager of Go! Go! Hanguk Live & Study in Korea (Korea)


A message to Japanese media who are willing to cover our student stories

We can support you in covering this story, either through access to our students stories, or the students directly. We have collected stories from over 800 students and can help to provide the content necessary for creating an article or a video to highlight the students’ plight.