Japan stops issuing working holiday visas to Korean women age 26 or older

June 17, 2014

None issued this year in an apparent bid to fight prostitution

prostitution

A working holiday visa allows its holder to live and work for a year in Japan, but they are prohibited from finding work in bars, “cabarets,” hostess clubs and other kinds of “adult entertainment” establishments. (Korea Times file)

By Kim Da-ye

The Japanese Embassy rejected all applications from Korean women age 26 or older for working holiday visas this year in an apparent bid to fight prostitution, sources said Sunday.

The measure follows reports that Korean women have misused such visas to work as prostitutes in Japan.

A consular official at the embassy in Seoul denied that working visa requests from women were being rejected for that reason. He said that the embassy screened the applicants with its own criteria through its website only.

Japan requires working holiday visa applicants to be between 18 and 25 years of age in principle, but accepts people up to age 30 under “exceptional circumstances. ” The consular official refused to specify what might constitute such circumstances.

“Women age 26 or older all failed to obtain a working holiday visa. There was no exception. All 100 percent failed. Many applied for the visa again and again, but we have to say that the acceptance rate is zero. It seems the age cutoff wasn’t so strict for men,” said an employee of Go Japan, an agency arranging working holidays and student visas on her blog.

Men 26 or older are still eligible for the working holiday program because most of them serve in the military in their early 20s.

Japan will accept applications in the third and fourth quarters, but women in the age group are likely to continue to be rejected, the blog entry said.

The number of working holidays visas issued to Koreans plunged as many women couldn’t qualify.

According to Yonhap News, which quoted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 723 applicants passed the screening process in the second quarter of 2014. That is not even half of the 1,461 visas issued during the same period last year.

In the first quarter, 880 working holiday visas were issued, slightly more than half of the 1,652 issued a year ago.

The Japanese consular official said that these numbers are wrong, but he could not reveal the exact figures.

Agencies now recommend those who genuinely intend to live in Japan and learn about the country to apply for student visas.

“Many women age 25 or older now hope to apply for student visas for programs starting in October, because they didn’t pass the working holiday visa screenings,” said the blog entry of Go Japan.

The working holiday program between Korea and Japan was launched in April 1999 to promote friendly relations by having young people from both countries understand each other’s culture and lifestyle.

A working holiday visa allows its holder to live and work for a year in Japan. The holders are prohibited from finding work in bars, “cabarets,” hostess clubs and other kinds of “adult entertainment” establishments.

2 Comments

  1. sahar

    June 1, 2015 at 2:04 AM

    Nice

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