Japan's COVID-19 border restrictions appear to have prompted more than 300 people to decline offers for foreign language teacher and assistant positions, leading to a fall in the number of such instructors in the country, according to a Kyodo News survey.

The withdrawal from the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme comes as prospective language instructors from the United States and other countries remain in limbo over Japan's strict immigration policies since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey shows.

The actual number of withdrawals could be even higher, given that some municipalities have yet to respond to the survey, which covers prefectural governments, major cities and international groups promoting educational exchanges.