The operator of three cooking schools in Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture, is scrapping its long-standing policy of barring foreign students, its chairman said Friday.

Ever since its establishment in 1976, Konsho Gakuen has maintained a Japanese-only policy "without thinking it's a big deal," Chairman Akio Imai told The Japan Times on Friday.

"I'm very sorry that I was immature and stubborn," he said, pledging to overcome what he described as his own long-standing fear of accepting foreigners.