Farm, hotel sectors help each other during pandemic
Japan Today -- Apr 30
Disruption to the inbound flow of foreign trainees caused by the coronavirus pandemic has created labor shortages in Japan's agricultural sector and led farmers to turn to workers in the tourism industry as a stop-gap measure.

Motoyoshi Hashizume was stunned when he heard the news this month that Japan would ban the entry of foreigners from more than 70 countries and regions in a bid to contain the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus.

The executive director at Tsumagoi Cabbage Promotion Business Cooperative in Gunma Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, said about 250 cabbage farmers in the village had planned to hire a total of 320 foreign trainees to plant young cabbages starting late April and harvest them in fall.

Japan has been accepting foreign trainees in the agricultural, fisheries and manufacturing sectors since 1993 under a program to transfer technologies and knowledge to developing countries, but some critics fear that the internship program could be used as a cover for companies to import cheap labor.

As of the end of 2018, about 330,000 foreign trainees were in Japan, according to the Organization for Technical Intern Training.

In the case of Tsumagoi, one of the major cabbage production areas in the country, 220 workers from China, Indonesia and Myanmar were unable to enter Japan, leaving the village in a difficult position.

Hotels in hot spring resorts in and around the village, meanwhile, have suffered many cancellations of reservations since Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and some other populous prefectures, asking people to avoid nonessential outings and some businesses to shut.

The declaration was later expanded to cover all the nation's 47 prefectures.

The obvious solution for Hashizume's cabbage cooperative was to hire people from the dormant tourism industry to help out its member farmers.

"Some 20 hotel workers in and around the village have consulted us and had interviews with farmers on their working conditions," said Hashizume, adding that three have agreed to start working from May.

He said the cabbage cooperative has received an increasing number of inquiries on the program not only from Gunma but also from other prefectures. Those who come from outside Gunma will be required to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

News source: Japan Today
Jul 09
Struggling businesses and other clients have left Japanese banks with record outstanding loans for a third straight month. (NHK)
Jul 09
Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor Co chairman, wired $862,500 last year to a company managed by one of the two men who later helped him escape from Japan, U.S. prosecutors said in a Tuesday court filing. (Japan Today)
Jul 08
Torrential rains in southwestern Japan forced more plants to close Tuesday as floodwaters poured into factories, knocked out power and threatened to cover roads. (Nikkei)
Jul 08
Japan's labor ministry says over 32,000 workers have been discharged by their employers or faced contract nonrenewal amid the coronavirus pandemic. (NHK)
Jul 08
Whenever people want to sell their car for any reason, they wish to go through the process of selling as smoothly as possible. During this marketing process of their car, people make common mistakes again and again that costs them in the low-profit margin. Enlisted below are 5 common mistakes done by the people in selling their vehicle. (newsonjapan.com)
Jul 07
Japanese automakers are moving beyond the plant shutdowns stemming from the coronavirus. They've brought most of their overseas facilities back online as they gear up for recovering demand. (NHK)
Jul 05
Panasonic is leaving the cash register business within the fiscal year ending March 2021, Nikkei has learned. (Nikkei)
Jul 05
A long-time plan to develop Tokyo as a major international financial center is getting a new twist -- prompting skeptics to reassess their views. (Nikkei)
Jul 04
Business sentiment improved for the first time in nine months in June, thanks to the resumption of economic activity nationwide, credit research company Teikoku Databank Ltd. said Friday. (Japan Times)
Jul 04
A Turkish judge on Friday released pending trial the four pilots and an aviation company manager accused of aiding former Nissan Motor Chairman Carlos Ghosn's escape from criminal custody in Japan. (Nikkei)