The Yoshinoya "gyudon" beef bowl restaurant chain refused to allow a university student to attend a recruitment event after assuming the student was a foreign national, an official of the chain's holding company said Friday.

A recruiter at Yoshinoya Co. based the assumption on background information provided by the student, and told the student that foreign nationals face difficulty in obtaining work visas, according to the official.

The company's action drew a backlash on social media after the student posted about it. In a tweet apparently by the student, whose gender is unknown, the student says he or she is a Japanese national.

The latest incident to hit the company came only weeks after a managing director of the restaurant chain was dismissed over inappropriate remarks about young women made at a university-hosted lecture, triggering a backlash from the public.

On its website for recruitment, Yoshinoya states that it "continues to actively promote foreign national employees with the aim of revitalizing the organization."

According to Yoshinoya Holdings, the Yoshinoya recruiter canceled the student's reservation for attendance after screening the background information and sent an email stating, "It is extremely difficult for a foreign national to obtain a work visa and there is a possibility that you will not be able to join the company even if you are offered a job."

The company has given similar responses to those who appeared to be foreign applicants without working visas since around January 2021, according to the official.

There were cases in the past where Yoshinoya had to cancel job offers after foreign nationals were unable to obtain a work visa, the official said.

"There was no choice but to decline the application (to attend the event) given those withdrawals of job offers," the official said.

But Yoshinoya should have explained beforehand that obtaining a visa was a requirement for recruitment, the official said, adding, "We sincerely apologize."

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