The Japanese government is taking action against a university for losing track of more than a thousand foreign students.
The government launched an inquiry into Tokyo University of Social Welfare after it came to light that many foreign students, including Vietnamese and Nepalese, were unaccounted for at a campus in Kita Ward, Tokyo. The school has four campuses across Japan.
A probe by the education and justice ministries found that the university lost track of the whereabouts of 1,610 foreign students during a three-year period ending March 2019.
Among them, 1,113 belonged to the university's "international research students program," a preliminary course for those aiming to become regular students.
The university is said to have accepted many students who lacked the required level of Japanese proficiency as "research students."
The government says the university's administrators need to take responsibility for accepting foreign students without being adequately prepared. It also criticized the university for losing contact with a large number of them.
Government officials have decided to halt the issuance of residency permits to new "research students" and will order the university to present a management improvement plan by the end of July.
Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita told reporters that visa issuance was being halted due to serious problems, including classes falling far below university education levels.
He said his ministry will work with the education ministry to implement counter-measures and improve trust in the country's system for accepting foreign personnel.