In the last few months of 2020, MSA executed a financial aid program to support scholars returning from overseas and having to bear extraordinary expenses regarding COVID-19 related measures.
We have dispensed a total of 200,000 yen to 22 scholars for an average of around 9,000 yen per each person. While we know that this is a very small, we hope that this amount of money, perhaps enough for the daily expenses for a week for a student, was enough to offset some off the expenses that scholars had to bear for the overseas PCR test and/or the quarantine-related costs when coming back to Japan.
The disbursement was capped at 10,000 yen per person or 50% of declared expenses, whichever was lower, with one person awarded 20,000 yen due to extraordinary circumstances. To ensure that the money was awarded to people who required it, participants were required to produce proof of COVID-related costs (eg. payment of COVID-19 examination overseas, special taxi from airports, quarantine accomodation), proof that they were students in Japan and proof of recent landing in Japan. All personal information that can be used to identify people gained during this exercise was deleted after the distribution.
MSA believes that these expenses should not be fully borne by scholars given that these expenses were not incurred due to any fault of the individuals. In addition, we understand how much a 10,000 yen can be for a student, especially because many of the students left outside were unable to claim the 100,000 yen which was distributed to each resident in Japan in the middle of 2020.