Tokyo, April 27 (Jiji Press)–About 30 public and private universities across Japan are joining hands to allow as many Ukrainian students as possible to study in Japan amid continued Russian attacks on their home country, Jiji Press learned Wednesday.
The universities are set to establish a consortium as early as May to gather information on Ukrainian students wishing to come to Japan, whose number has been rising amid prolonged battles in Ukraine, and to allow universities to share know-how related to the acceptance of students.
The project will be based on a program that International Christian University in Tokyo launched with other organizations, including Pathways Japan, a Tokyo-based group supporting refugees, in March.
The program allows Ukrainians to study at ICU as auditing students, taking courses without seeking grades or credits, while receiving support for housing and living expenses.
Under the program, ICU received applications from 68 Ukrainian students, including those remaining in Kyiv, and has decided to accept five of them.
Wilhelm Vosse, an international relations professor at ICU, is in charge of accepting Ukrainian students. In late February, he watched news about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sent an email to ICU President Shoichiro Iwakiri to ask whether the university could accept students from Ukraine. Vosse was soon appointed as a coordinator.
Among the applicants from Ukraine, there were students who took part in interviews from basement shelters, Vosse told Jiji Press.
As there is a limit to the number of students that ICU can accept, it called for cooperation from other universities via the Japan Association of Private Universities and Colleges and other organizations. Some 30 universities expressed interest, mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including Waseda University, Keio University and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Earlier this month, the universities held their first meeting online and discussed what they needed to do to improve the environment for accepting Ukrainian students.
Given the tense situation in Ukraine, they are rushing to make arrangements to accept students although there are various matters that still need to be discussed, including how to offer moral support for the students.
“There are many Ukrainian students who wish to study in Japan but each university has different systems for accepting them,” Vosse said in Japanese. To accept more students, “Support from the Japanese government is essential,” he added.
Elsewhere in Japan, 64 Ukrainian students have enrolled in Japan University of Economics in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwestern Japan. Other institutions, such as the University of Tokyo and Nagasaki University, have also expressed their readiness to accept Ukrainian students.