Nearly 250 Chinese students studying business in a Japanese junior college are worried about their future as their scandal-tainted college edges toward closure.
Sakata Junior College in Yamagata Prefecture is faced with a shortage of capital and accusations of mismanagement such as the embezzlement of government-funded scholarships.
It is reportedly 300 million yen (US$2.25 million) in debt, according to the Kyodo news agency.
Eleven of the school's 46 faculty members have decided to quit by the end of March, because they haven't been paid in the last two months.
Other faculty members have also said they may follow suit because they have lost confidence in the college.
Japanese education authorities are expected to meet the school board later this month about the crisis.
The fate of these Chinese students will not be decided until after the talks, said Zhu Yaozhong, a Tokyo-based journalist who has followed the case in the last few months.
But Zhu said authorities will assist first-year Chinese students there to transfer to four-year academic institutions.
Second-year students face the least number of problems as they are expected to graduate in the next few months, he added.
Students expressed their concern to the Chinese Embassy in Tokyo two months ago, and embassy officials have consulted with Japanese authorities.
Chinese officials have also toured the campus and spoke to the students about their situation. "Many students really want to pursue their studies in Japan, and their interests should not go unheeded," said Wang Liya, a Chinese official.
The college also appropriated government-funded scholarships worth a total of 43.5 million yen (US$320,000), according to Japan Times in Tokyo.
Japanese education minister Atsuko Toyama said in February that his ministry will send officials to the college to investigate issues such as the non-payment of scholarships.
An international education organization affiliated with the Japanese Education Ministry said on Monday they may bring the college school board to court if the scholarship money is not given to the students.
(China Daily March 28, 2002)