A group of scholars studying Japan are calling on the country to ease its border closures and let foreign researchers and students into the country.
More than 100 representatives of international exchange organizations and experts signed a letter and sent it to the Japanese government.
The letter states that the closure of the Japanese border harms the country’s national interests and international relations.
He says some students in North America have started to change their choice of language study and research to match the places they can actually visit.
The letter also says keeping the borders closed goes against “the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific” advocated by Japan. The scholars are urging Japan to allow entry to people who they say will “become bridges between Japan and other societies”.
One of the signatories, Professor Daniel Aldrich of Northeastern University in the United States, said: “The way we can learn to speak Japanese well, the only way to learn about Japanese culture , the only way to build a network is to actually be in Japan. . There is no substitute for spending time there in the field.” He also warns that if things don’t change, Japan could develop a reputation for not being very interested in foreign students.
Another signatory, Phillip Lipscy, is an associate professor at the University of Toronto. He says that international exchanges between students and scholars are the foundation of Japanese diplomacy.
He warns that if the border closure continues, Japan will lose opportunities to help foreigners deepen their understanding of the country.
Japan imposed a ban on new entry of foreign nationals in late November in response to the global spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.