Disruption to the inbound flow of foreign trainees caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created labor shortages in the nation's agricultural sector, and led farmers to turn to workers from the tourism industry as a stopgap measure.

Motoyoshi Hashizume was stunned when he heard 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 said about 250 cabbage farmers in the village had planned to hire a total of 320 foreign trainees to plant young cabbages from late April and harvest them in fall.