The outbreak of the novel coronavirus has dealt a heavy blow to the manufacturing, farming and fishing industries in rural areas, as it has halted the arrival of Chinese trainees they have relied on for labor.

A textile manufacturer in Fukui Prefecture said one of the roughly 20 Chinese trainees at the company has been unable to re-enter Japan after leaving for Lunar New Year late January, while the arrivals of five new trainees from this spring have been postponed due to Japan's entry ban covering parts of China and elsewhere.

"It may be just a few people, but for small and midsize businesses it means a significant drop in manpower," said an official at the company.