There are 30 public and private universities across the nation who are cooperating to allow as many Ukrainian students to study in Japan, despite continued Russian attacks on their home country, it was learned Wednesday.
The universities are going to establish a consortium as early as May to gather information on Ukrainian students wishing to come to Japan, the number of which has been rising due to prolonged battles in Ukraine, and to allow universities to share know-how related to accepting such students.
The project is based on a program launched by International Christian University in Tokyo in March, together with other organizations, including Pathways Japan, a Tokyo-based group that supports refugees.
The program allows Ukrainians to study at the ICU as an audit student, taking courses without credit, while receiving support for housing and living expenses.
The ICU received applications from 68 Ukrainian students, including some still in Kyiv, and has decided to accept five of them.
Wilhelm Vosse, an international relations professor at the ICU, is responsible for accepting Ukrainian students. Vosse was soon appointed as a coordinator.
Among the applicants from Ukraine were students who took part in interviews from basement shelters, Vosse said.
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 in the Tokyo metropolitan area, including Waseda University, Keio University and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
The universities held their first meeting online earlier this month and discussed what they needed to do to improve the environment in order to accept Ukrainian students.
Given the tense situation in Ukraine, they are rushing to make arrangements to accept students - although there are various issues that need to be discussed, including how to offer the students moral support.
There are many Ukrainian students who wish to study in Japan but each university has different systems for accepting them, Vosse said. He said that in order to accept more students, support from the Japanese government is essential.
In Japan, 64 Ukrainian students have been enrolled at the Japan University of Economics in Fukuoka Prefecture. Other institutions, such as the University of Tokyo and Nagasaki University, have expressed their readiness to accept Ukrainian students.