Number of Nepali language students in Okinawa drops
According to sources among representatives of language schools in Okinawa, only 33% of students, to whom the Ministry of Justice issued Certificates of Eligibility, were actually issued student visas by the Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau Okinawa Branch to study Japanese language in Okinawa last year, the least ever. The number is considerably low compared to 93% in 2011 when the number of Nepali students was increasing.
The low figure is based on the fact that it’s impossible for students to pay for tuition and living expenses unless they work more than 28 hours per week that is the limit of weekly working hours set by the law.
Also, an increasing number of students have been reported disappearing and missing from their work places, and the Ministry of Justice Immigration Bureau has started to take measures to prevent such situations from occurring.
At the same time, about 80% of foreign language students in the prefecture are from Nepal, and school representatives worry that as a result some schools could face a financial crisis and even bankruptcy.
According to the statistics by the Ministry of Justice, the rate of issuing student visas for the Nepali students who have obtained the Certificates of Eligibility has been stable between 60 to 90 percents from 2011 to 2014, and the 33% last year is an unusually low rate.
According to local Japanese language school representatives, the certificates are issued annually to around 200 students seeking to come to Okinawa to study.