The government will let foreign students at culinary schools stay in Japan for two years after graduation if they take up apprenticeships at Japanese-style restaurants.
Under the change that took effect Friday, each student’s school and host restaurant will have to work out an internship program for approval by the agriculture ministry. Without such a program, the graduate would have to leave Japan.
If approved, the student’s visa status will be switched to the “designated activities” category, which includes “working holiday” programs.
One restaurant may accept up to two graduates.
Once the training is complete, the nonprofit Organization to Promote Japanese Restaurants Abroad will help the graduates find a job in their home country using its network of Japanese restaurants overseas.
With the recent addition of traditional Japanese cuisine to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, the government hopes that the students will help promote Japanese cuisine around the world.