Japan investigates 700 foreign students AWOL from Tokyo college

NAGOYA, Kyodo - Some 700 foreign students have stopped attending classes at a Tokyo university and have been out of contact with the school since last April, prompting the Japanese government to investigate as some have overstayed their visas.

Tokyo University of Social Welfare had 5,133 foreign nationals enrolled as of May 1, the second largest foreign student body after Waseda University’s 5,412, according to the Japan Student Services Organization.

But the private university with some 8,000 total students said last week it had lost touch with about 700 of the roughly 2,600 foreigners who attended the university’s Oji campus in Tokyo’s Kita Ward. The students were enrolled as researchers for the current academic year that ends later this month.

The students are from Vietnam, Nepal and China, among other countries, and have been removed from the university’s student register, according to its public relations office in Nagoya.

The university said it also recorded 264 such disappearances in 2016 and 493 in 2017. In many cases, students went missing after attending classes several times and later stopped paying tuition.

The school, established in 2000 in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, has four campuses, in Tokyo, Isesaki and Nagoya.

In 2017, the Justice Ministry said dozens of foreign students at the university were found to be illegally staying in Japan even after their visas expired. (Kyodo)

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