Japan’s labor ministry says it is temporarily allowing companies to assign foreign trainees to face mask production amid scarce supply due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministry officials say textile and clothing companies have asked for exceptional measures so trainees can work in the production of cloth masks.
Companies that take on foreign trainees are only allowed to assign them to work in which they can learn predetermined skills.
But the ministry has decided to allow those who are gaining experience in textiles or other fields to engage in face mask production, even if the work is unrelated to the predetermined skills.
The ministry says the exception will be in place for a certain period, and that the time trainees spend on face mask production should not exceed the time originally scheduled for training.
The officials say there are about 30,000 trainees in textile and clothing businesses nationwide. They called on firms to consult the ministry’s local offices about this matter.