The government will allow skilled non-Japanese to work in the agricultural sector in special economic zones to alleviate the farming labor shortage.

"We have decided to add the employment of foreign workers in the agricultural sector ... to the menu for strategic special zones," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting Monday of an advisory council on the national strategic special zones.

The offer is expected to be restricted to applicants who can meet skill criteria — for example, having studied agriculture at the university level in their home countries — and have some ability to communicate in Japanese.