The Japanese government has ordered four companies to cancel internships for technical trainees from overseas after the companies were found to have treated workers improperly, The Nikkei reports. The four companies are Mitsubishi Motors, Panasonic and two smaller organisations called Aisin Sinwa, a metal processing company in the auto parts sector and Daibari, a construction company.

In addition to foreign technical trainees, the companies will not be able to accept foreign workers for the next five years under new measures that will be implemented in April. The measures include a new visa category for workers in 14 selected sectors meant to help ease Japan’s labour shortage.

The decision by the country’s ministry of justice and the health, labour and welfare ministry covers 136 interns in total. This includes 27 interns from the Philippines at Mitsubishi, who were given tasks different from what the company had outlined in its application while assigned to the automaker’s Okazaki plant.

At Okazaki, the company reportedly made the trainees perform parts assembly, rather than the semi-automatic welding as described in its plan. The discrepancy was discovered during an on-the-spot inspection by justice ministry officials and members of the foreign skill practice training association.

The ministries also issued an improvement order to the automaker demanding that it alter the tasks for a separate intern after continuing that person’s training. The report added that trainees’ will be given a choice of either transferring to new companies or returning home; some trainees have already switched companies or have left the country. Mitsubishi had 65 foreign trainees as of last May, about half of whom were supposed to be welding. The remaining interns will be able to complete their training period.

The Japanese automaker was discovered to have misused trainees from 2008 through 2018, although the total number of interns affected is unknown. “We are taking [the situation] seriously and are working on a prevention plan,” the company said last week, stating that it will conduct a thorough internal training about compliance.