ID :
Wed, 03/18/2020 - 00:32
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Japan Faces Shortage of 1,000 Foreign Trainees

Tokyo, March 17 (Jiji Press)--Japan is facing a shortage of 1,000 foreign technical intern trainees in the agricultural sector due to the spread of the novel coronavirus, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday. The shortage stems from a delay in the arrival of prospective trainees, mainly from China. In Japan, many foreign trainees engage in the harvesting of vegetables and fruit. Short-staffed agricultural producers cannot do without them. The Japan agricultural cooperatives, or JA, group will have employees work at farms to prevent agricultural supply from being hit by the labor shortage. According to the Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, or JA-Zenchu, some foreign trainees are unable to come to Japan as they have not received approval from the Chinese government. Also, some in Vietnam and Cambodia are refusing to come to Japan because of concerns about COVID-19 infections, according to JA-Zenchu. Act Farm, an agricultural production corporation in the town of Ibaraki, eastern Japan, is waiting for the arrival of three trainees from China slated for March. Necessary paperwork was done, but the authorities are not issuing visas for them. "We've been hit by a fall in vegetable prices due to the coronavirus crisis. On top of that, we lack manpower for harvesting," said Haruo Seki, head of the corporation. The Japanese agricultural sector is becoming increasingly dependent on foreign trainees because of an aging farmer population and a lack of successors. The number of foreign trainees in the sector topped 35,000 at the end of October last year. Many came from China, Vietnam and the Philippines. END