Japan will give students and young employees in cities a chance to take long vacations to work in the countryside, hoping to stimulate consumption in rural areas while addressing labor shortages.
The internal affairs ministry will launch next year a domestic version of so-called working holidays, in which young people go sightseeing or study while working abroad under special visas from the host nations.
The program will be open to college students in major metropolitan areas, including Tokyo and Osaka, as well as young employees that companies wish to send as part of their training. The ministry will collaborate with local governments, businesses and universities to solicit participants.
Participants can use their days off to take in the sights or help promote local communities. They can experience the charm of places otherwise inaccessible to tourists, all without having to move.
Prefectures and municipalities are to work together to find housing and jobs for participants as well as organize events to welcome them. Some local governments may rent out public housing, subsidize transportation costs or provide other support.