Japan: Enhanced Screening of Visa Applications for Int’l Students and Researchers

The government of Japan has announced that it has designed a stricter visa applications screening policy for international students and people who want to conduct research at Japanese universities, in an attempt to protect the national economic security.

The move has been undertaken right before the start of the new academic year, due to suspicions that national security-related advanced technologies and information has been stolen and passed to other countries such as China, through students and other researchers staying in Japan, Erudera College News reports.

Under the government’s established system, the National Security Secretariat and important ministries will have to share important information regarding suspicious people. The same information will be used by Japanese embassies, as well as other diplomatic establishments in the country regarding visa issuance. Visa applications of persons considered as suspicious will be rejected.

In order to cover the costs of implementing a stricter screening of visa application, the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested the amount of ¥220 million in its budgetary plan for the fiscal year 2021.

Other world countries have also been undertaking measures to prevent research theft in recent years. Washington and Canberra have been under pressure the most over China’s attempts to steal foreign technologies, by using students who have been pursuing studies in the United States and Australia.

As a result, the United States has increased the number of rejections in visa applications for persons suspected of collaborating with foreign governments, while in September the US revoked visas of more than 1,000 students and researchers from China, indicating that they pose a risk to the country’s security.

Following this, an expert on economic security has raised the concerns that Chinese students’ applications of which have been revoked by the United States are heading to Japan, thus changing their target.

In a bid to protect the country’s security, Japan’s Defense Ministry has considered the establishment of a new post of senior planning officer for economic security information within the Defense Policy Bureau. The main duty of the officer will be to analyze other countries’ moves as well as to consider the protective measures.

Whereas, representatives of the Trade and Industry Ministry have announced that a meeting will be held, during which the ministry will call on businesses and universities to undertake strategic measures which will help in controlling technologies. The ministry has requested ¥1.87 billion for this purpose.

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