University Campus Inspected After 1,400 Foreign Students Go AWOL

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TOKYO - The government on Tuesday conducted an on-site inspection at a campus of the Tokyo University of Social Welfare to investigate how it lost contact with approximately 1,400 of its foreign students since the 2016 academic year.

The education ministry and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Bureau will check how the university manages foreign students' enrollment and may cut or not offer government subsidies if problems are found, officials said.

As of May 1 last year, the university had 5,133 foreign nationals enrolled, the second largest foreign student body in the country after Waseda University's 5,412, according to the Japan Student Services Organization.

The private university with some 8,000 total students said they reported to the education ministry that most of the 1,400 missing students have had their enrollments canceled.

"We will check whether foreign students have been properly accepted, and order improvement depending on the outcome of the investigations," education minister Masahiko Shibayama said at a press conference.

The Justice Ministry will also consider imposing stricter resident status screenings of foreign students at the university, the officials said.

The school, established in 2000 in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, has four campuses in three cities -- Tokyo, Isesaki, and Nagoya. The number of foreign students at the university rose sharply from 348 in May 2013 to the current levels.

In 2017, the Justice Ministry said dozens of foreign students at the university were found to have illegally overstayed their visas.




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