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Osaka company launches once-a-month free cafeteria for foreigners struggling amid pandemic

A scene from the free cafeteria for foreign nationals is seen in Osaka's Naniwa Ward on April 27, 2022. (Mainichi/Takao Kitamura)

OSAKA -- An Osaka-based company has launched a free cafeteria for foreign nationals facing economic hardships amid the coronavirus pandemic, set to operate one day per month.

    Yolo Japan Corp., based in the city's Naniwa Ward, aims to create a place for the foreign residents to gather and share everyday concerns regardless of their age or origins, as there are fewer chances for people to interact during the pandemic.

    Yolo helps foreigners in Japan get jobs and provides broad living support. It sought participants for the first event on April 27 via its media channels, which have 210,000 foreign national subscribers. On the day, some 35 people including international students and job seekers gathered at a company facility. The firm provided free meals, a Japanese language lesson, and assistance for job-seekers including interviews with companies, among other services.

    The meals are funded by donations from sponsors and other sources. The language lesson was given online by students at Daiichi Gakuin High School, using easy Japanese.

    A 20-year-old student from Indonesia living in the city's Nishinari Ward said, "The food was delicious, and I made new friends. I want to join next time, too."

    (Japanese original by Takao Kitamura, Osaka Photo Department)

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