Japanese academics have launched a support network to pressure their government to expand provisional measures for their Afghan colleagues and their families who have been trapped in Afghanistan following the takeover of the Taliban in late August 2021.
Japan has hosted more than 1400 Afghan citizens over the past two decades, mostly Afghans who have studied under an official Japanese government-sponsored scholarship program as part of its mission to promote and improve the Afghan capacity for effective development (PEACE), which was implemented in 2011. The project's objective was to advance Afghanistan's technological and educational capacity to promote economic and democratic reforms in Afghanistan.
In the past two months, academics from various Japanese universities have held conferences to draw attention to the plight of their former Afghan students.
The initiative of Japanese universities is a historic step in the higher education sector. Hiroshima University, for instance, has set up a special task force to facilitate the return of its Afghan graduates and their families. Nonetheless, as many contend, Japan’s bureaucracy poses significant difficulties for Afghan students seeking sanctuary. Additionally, Japanese immigration laws do not allow entry for family members.
Endangered Scholars Worldwide joins Japanese universities and calls for national and international support for students and researchers in Afghanistan—especially female students and scholars, whose future has been threatened by the Taliban takeover.
We urge the Japanese government to take necessary actions to protect former Afghan students and their families seeking to return to Japan. We also urge them to provide assistance in helping Afghans currently studying and residing in Japan to maintain or change immigration status as needed to avoid persecution.