The application for admission in 2024 will be open in August 2023. Please follow our website for coming info sessions in July.

Application will be open from Monday, August 29 to Monday, September 12, 2022.
If you are interested in applying, please contact us here.

What is Japan-Syria Japanese Language School Pathways?

Japan-Syria Japanese Language School Pathways offers an opportunity for Syrian youth in Turkey to study Japanese in private language schools across Japan for two years. From 2017 to 2022, 33 Syrian youth were admitted to Japan through this program with the support from private language schools, faith-based organizations, NGOs and local communities. Selected students study tuition-free in the two-year program, which is considered the minimum required to reach a level of Japanese necessary to enter university or find employment in Japan.
In April 2023, 3-4 Syrian students will be admitted to this program.

What the Program Provides
・Japanese language classes prior to travel to Japan
・Airfare to Japan
・Tuition at a Japanese language school for two years

・Subsidy for the first six months
*Please note that students are expected to work part-time to cover their rent and living expenses. Pathways Japan and language schools will help you find part-time work.

Program Facebook Page
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Future Prospects

If you are a high school graduate …
After you improve your Japanese language skills and obtain sufficient scores in the
Examination for Japanese University Admission for International Students (EJU), you can apply to universities in Japan. The program will offer regular consultation on the preparation for this exam, but scholarships for universities are not guaranteed and it is your responsibility to apply for financial aid. After graduating from a university or vocational school, you will have a good chance of finding a job in Japan. When you find employment, you can obtain a work visa in Japan.

If you are a university graduate …
Once you complete the two-year course, you can find employment and obtain a work visa. A high level of Japanese is normally required to find a job in Japan, even if one is fluent in English. It is also possible to apply for a master’s degree, either by obtaining a scholarship or saving enough funds through several years of work.


1. Must be a Syrian citizen without any other citizenship/passport
2. Must reside in Turkey and be able to submit one of the documents below:
a) Temporary Protection Card (Kimlic) issued by the Turkish Government
b) Residence permit issued by the Turkish Government
3. Must already possess or commit to applying for a Syrian passport (A passport is necessary to obtain a visa and travel to Japan.)
4. Must be able to submit the academic certificate(s) below:
a) High school baccalaureate certificate and transcript for 3 years
b) (If you are a university student or graduate) University certificate and transcript for registered terms

5. If you are a high school graduate, you must be 26 years old or younger; if you are a university graduate, you must be 32 years old or younger.
6. Must agree to work part-time at an entry-level job to cover your own living expenses
7. Must be determined to master the Japanese language and adapt to a society with a different culture.
8. Those with basic Japanese skills will be prioritized.

Supporting Organizations

Pathways JapanImplementing Organization
Pathways Japan (PJ) is a Japanese non-governmental and non-profit organization, independent of the Japanese government or UN agencies, supporting people with refugee backgrounds to be admitted to Japan to access higher education and employment. This program, originally called the Japanese Language School Program, and managed by the Japan Association for Refugees (JAR), was handed over to PJ on July 1, 2021.

Japanese Language SchoolsHost Organizations
In 2023, three Japanese language schools are planning to admit Syrian youth who are currently in Turkey to study Japanese from April 2023 to March 2025. These schools are in Chiba and Tokyo. These schools will provide a full-tuition scholarship. If you would like more information about the host schools, please contact turkey@pathways-j.org.

Japan ICU FoundationFunding Organization
The Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF) is a US non-profit organization based in New York. Since 2016, JICUF has partnered with JAR, and later with PJ, to administer the Syrian Scholars Initiative (SSI), a scholarship program for Syrian students to study at International Christian University (ICU) in Tokyo, Japan. From 2018 to 2022, SSI admitted seven Syrian students and has been offering them a full scholarship for four years. From 2023, JICUF will provide partial funding to administer the language school program.

Application Timeline

August 29 (Monday) to September 12 (Monday)Application Period
September 4, 2022 (Sunday)
11:00-12:30 Turkey time
Online information session
Mid-September 2022First interview (online)
September 26, 2022 (Thursday)Announcement of first round results
October 1, 2 and 8, 2022Trial Japanese language classes (online)
October 22 and 23, 2022Second interview in Istanbul and Gaziantep
First week of November 2022Third interview (online) with Japanese language schools
Mid-November 2022Announcement of final results

Steps After Selection

November 2022Application for residence status
December 2022 – March 2023Preparatory Japanese online classes
January 2023Japanese language study camp (planned)
End of March 2023Travel to Japan
Second week of April 2023School starts

How to Apply

If you would like to apply, please contact us here.


Q: What will my legal status be in Japan during the program?
A: You will stay in Japan with a student visa for two years. Please note that you will
not stay in Japan with “refugee” status.

Q: What will my legal status be in Japan after the program?
A: If you are a high school graduate, by entering university, you can extend your student visa for four years. (If you enter a vocational school, you can extend it for two years.) If you find employment after graduating from university/vocational school, you can apply for a work permit. The Japanese government does not issue work permits to foreigners without university or vocational school
certificate (except for some designated skill status defined by the government.)

If you are a university graduate and you find employment after finishing the language school program, you can apply for a work permit. Alternatively, if you enter graduate school, you can extend your student visa for another two years.

Q: What will happen if I am not able to attend university or vocational school, nor find employment?
A: Even if you are accepted to a university or vocational school, you will not be able to attend if you do not also obtain a scholarship or have enough savings to pay for tuition. Therefore it is important to do research on scholarships, prepare to apply, and also save money as much as possible during the two years of language study.

If you are unable to attend a university or graduate school, nor find employment, you must apply for humanitarian status to stay in Japan. PJ can give technical assistance but each student has to be responsible for one’s own own legal status as the decision will be made by the government.

Q: Can I work with a student visa?
A: As a student, you are legally allowed to work part-time up to 28 hours a week while school is in session, and 40 hours during school holidays. It is necessary for you to work to pay your rent and living expenses, but it work is also beneficial to improve your language skills and get accustomed to the local culture and people.

Q: What types of scholarships are there to attend university?
A: The following are some scholarships that you can apply for.
a) International Scholarship offered by PJ
In 2021, PJ established its own scholarship program for higher education in Japan. Students who have been admitted to the JSLSP and have obtained sufficient
EJU scores are eligible to apply. The details for this year’s application will be announced some time after October 2022.
b) UNHCR Refugee Higher Education Program (RHEP)
UNHCR Japan provides a program called Refugee Higher Education Program
(RHEP) for students with refugee background who are living in Japan. After your arrival in Japan, you will be eligible for this full scholarship program.
c) Philoxenia Scholarship offered by JELA
Japan Lutheran Evangelical Association offers the Philoxenia Scholarship for students with refugee background in Japan. Students admitted through JSLSP are eligible. Students must apply separately to universities and be admitted to receive this partial scholarship.
d) Other scholarship opportunities
There are other organizations which provide scholarships to international students in
Japan. For a comprehensive list, please visit the JASSO website.