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  • Yomiuri: Language hurdle trips up Indonesian nurses in 4-year-old GOJ EPA program, and they’re leaving. By design, methinks.

    Posted by Dr. ARUDOU, Debito on February 23rd, 2012

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    Hi Blog. Speaking of GOJ visa statuses with high to insurmountable hurdles, here’s how the years-long (started in 2008) bilateral program to bring over nurses from The Philippines and Indonesia to work in Japan’s medical system is doing: As predicted.  Precisely due to “language barriers”, NJ are being relegated to lower-skilled labor and then sent home (or else, as you can also see below, going home by themselves after having enough of it all). Again, this is the point of Japan’s visa regimes — make sure migrants never become immigrants, siphon off the best working years of their lives, send them back for whatever excuse or shortcoming you can come up with, then bring in a new batch of dupes filled with false hopes. That way you keep the revolving-door labor market revolving, and never let NJ settle down here and get their due for their tax and pension payments.  How nice.  But as I’ve written before, it’s been the perpetual SOP for the GOJ.  Further comment from submitter JK follows article. Arudou Debito

    Main

    Language hurdle trips up Indonesian nurses

    The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 5, 2012) Makiko Yanada / Yomiuri Shimbun Correspondent

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T120104004687.htm

    JAKARTA–More than half of 104 Indonesian nurses who came to Japan in 2008 through a bilateral economic partnership agreement to obtain nursing licenses have returned home, due mainly to difficulties meeting Japanese language requirements, it has been learned.

    Through the EPA program, Indonesian nurses have been allowed to work in Japanese hospitals for three years as assistant nurses who take care of inpatients. They are all licensed nurses in Indonesia. The program requires they pass an annual national nursing certification test during their three-year stay.

    However, only 15 of the first group of 104 nurses who came to Japan from Indonesia passed the national exam. Among the 89 who failed the exam, 27 were granted special permission to extend their stay if they wished to because they managed to score a certain number of points on the previous exam. These nurses will take the national exam again in February.

    The remaining 62 returned to Indonesia by the end of August, though they were still eligible to take the national exam. Only four of them will return to Japan to take the February exam, meaning the remaining 58 have likely given up working in Japan.

    When the first batch arrived in 2008, the national exam was severely criticized, as non-Japanese applicants were disadvantaged by their difficulty in reading complex kanji used in the exam.

    For example, the word “jokuso” (bedsore), which is difficult to read even for a Japanese if it is written in kanji, appeared in the exam.

    The criticism prompted the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry to simplify the exam last year. The ministry put kana alongside difficult kanji to indicate their pronunciation.

    However, Indonesian nurses were discouraged by another aspect of the EPA program. As assistant nurses, they were not allowed to conduct medical treatments such as drip infusions and injections, treatments they had engaged in as licensed nurses in Indonesia.

    In Japan, they were primarily in charge of services such as table setting and bathing inpatients. After leaving Japan, most of them found new jobs in medical institutions in Indonesia.

    A 27-year-old Indonesian nurse who was a member of the first group and worked in a hospital in Wakayama Prefecture said, “My exam scores did not improve as I had hoped. Eventually, I didn’t want to see kanji anymore.”

    The government has an EPA program with the Philippines, through which Filipino nurses are able to work in Japan. It plans to introduce a similar scheme with Vietnam.

    (Jan. 5, 2012)

    Submitter JK comments:

    Now this is telling: “As assistant nurses, they were not allowed to conduct medical treatments such as drip infusions and injections, treatments they had engaged in as licensed nurses in Indonesia. In Japan, they were primarily in charge of services such as table setting and bathing inpatients.”

    Let’s face it — language isn’t what’s really at issue here — the hurdle doing the tripping is the system in which the nurses ended up being mere care-givers instead of actual nurses.

    What’s worse is that instead of improving the system to make better use of the NJ nurse’s talents, the GoJ is planning on rolling out a Vietnam version of the EPA!

    The system cannot be fixed with the mere addition of furigana.

    My prognosis is that rather than NJ 介護者, Japan needs NJ ‘nurses’ to help treat Japanese society. -JK

    ENDS

    ===================

    UPDATE

    Debito here. Just on a whim, I looked up 褥瘡 (bedsore) as referred to above.
    http://dic.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=top_ga1_sa&p=褥瘡
    http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&stype=0&dtype=3&p=褥瘡&oq=

    The word is so obscure that Yahoo Japan Dictionary doesn’t even provide an English translation of it.

    So for you naysayers that say, “nurses should be fluent for their job, so it’s the NJ’s fault”, obviously the standards have been set too high.

    Besides, as has been pointed out, if the GOJ was really worried about kanji fluency, they could have gotten nurses from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, or Singapore, which still use (variants of) kanji. But no.

    There’s obviously more to this issue than mere common sense in hiring practices. Try bilateral trade issues, which Japan doesn’t stand to gain much from when it comes to city-states (or as far as the GOJ is concerned, disputed territories), or (shudder) bring in MORE Chinese, as higher-skilled professionals!

    ENDS

    24 Responses to “Yomiuri: Language hurdle trips up Indonesian nurses in 4-year-old GOJ EPA program, and they’re leaving. By design, methinks.”

    1. Too Tall Says:

      Is this the same as the 介護福祉士 (caregiver) test? If so, Feb. 2012 results are already out. A buddy of mine passed, and heard at least 1 Filipina did.

    2. Jack Says:

      *In Japan, they were primarily in charge of services such as table setting and bathing inpatients. After leaving Japan, most of them found new jobs in medical institutions in Indonesia.*

      Anybody thats resided in Japan longterm knows this tatic well that is to Manipulate the interview or job description (bait and switch) then use you up to do work they dont want to do. all the while using emotional blackmail to keep you motivated to work, after all *O kyuryo moratte iru, desho!* This has been done unto me on several occasions. Basically, people, I wouldnt not trust, or at least verify, there is almost always a reason for using a gaijin for work in Japan. Dangerous trap to get involved with, but it does work out in Japans favor.

    3. Loverilakkuma Says:

      It seems like there’s an apparent disparity between literacy requirement for qualifying exam and the minimum skills for conducting jobs as a nurse. Equally stunned is the GOJ’s whimsical behavior to insinuate NJ nurses for a failure of the program, while pigeon-holding their inability to provide a content-based language instruction/training and an adequate life support. The commenter is right. Japan really needs NJ nurses to cure her chronic illness that impairs the entire system.

    4. flyjin Says:

      Lets face it, they are too cheap to hire Chinese or Korean nurses (for whom the Kanji would present far less of a problem)..aha! Too many of them WOULD pass the exam, and stay. And push for better rights. Not the desired outcome….

    5. jim Says:

      this was a big joke to begin with because remember that the only reason that the GOJ started this asinine program was because they just wanted a bias free trade agreement with these countries so they were never even serious or sincere about this bogus program to begin with its was just a part of the big package to get a free trade agreement so that’s it so face the facts jacks. that’s why it hasn’t and wont be successful. This is not a rant, its just part of system over here, like Debito said revolving door policy nothing more nothing less.

    6. Charuzu Says:

      It is another way to limit immigration or render it impossible, while doing so in a manner that is ostensibly neutral.

      It is redolent of Japan’s trade policies which ostensibly are framed as neutral, yet ultimately have the goal of unfairly blocking foreign competition.

    7. Jim Di Griz Says:

      I think that elements of what all of you are saying is correct. I think that the *real* aim of this program is not to bolster the number of J-nurses with Indonesian and Filipino nurses, doing the same job side-by-side, but rather to ‘bait and switch’ (as Jack, #2, says), by offering them the illusion of the chance to work as nurses in Japan and earn a good salary (compared to their home country), then make them study for an almost impossible exam for three years whilst they work as *care-givers*. This releases the burden on the overworked J-nurses. At the end of 3 years, the J-Gov doesn’t care if they go home, they can use the ‘bait and switch’ to get some Vietnamese *care-givers*! It’s a scam. How many passed the exam? 15? 2? 0? Great program, well worth the expense in tax yen.
      I think that it would be very interesting to sit in an old peoples hospital ward and see how long they are prepared to wait in bed for a J-nurse to come and clean them up after being incontinent, and if the ‘this is Japan!’ mantra makes them feel any less humiliated, or if they would prefer an NJ-nurse straight away.
      Maybe the Japanese will just go back to dumping their old people in the mountains to die without being a burden on their families. Don’t need more nurses then. Out of sight, out of mind, very Japanese solution.

    8. debito Says:

      Debito here. Just on a whim, I looked up 褥瘡 (bedsore) as referred to above.
      http://dic.search.yahoo.co.jp/search?ei=UTF-8&fr=top_ga1_sa&p=褥瘡
      http://dic.yahoo.co.jp/dsearch?enc=UTF-8&stype=0&dtype=3&p=褥瘡&oq=

      The word is so obscure that Yahoo Japan Dictionary doesn’t even provide an English translation of it.

      So for you naysayers that say, “nurses should be fluent for their job, so it’s the NJ’s fault”, obviously the standards have been set too high.

      Besides, as has been pointed out, if the GOJ was really worried about kanji fluency, they could have gotten nurses from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao, or Singapore, which still use (variants of) kanji. But no.

      There’s obviously more to this issue than mere common sense in hiring practices. Try bilateral trade issues, which Japan doesn’t stand to gain much from when it comes to city-states (or as far as the GOJ is concerned, disputed territories), or (shudder) bring in MORE Chinese, as higher-skilled professionals!

    9. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      It sounds like the program is temporarlily employing NJ nurses for aged care… a job that will be, according to some, be done by robots!
      Robots, BTW, can’t pass language tests either.

      – They probably won’t need to. They will be advertised as Made in Japan (albeit by then, probably “mostly”, and assembled elsewhere), therefore no issues.

    10. Dr.H Says:

      I remember reading a while back that there was an exodus of Japanese elderly moving to Thailand or Vietnam to live in nursing homes, because they simply could not afford nursing homes in Japan.

    11. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      I’d never heard the word jokusō before reading this article, but — at the risk of sounding a little elitist — it shouldn’t be such a difficult word to remember how to write, and certainly not how to read, once you’ve learned it.

      The phonetic part of the first character is the same joku as in 侮辱 (bujoku, ‘humiliate’) and that of the second character is the same in sōko 倉庫, ‘warehouse’.

      Indeed, the reading jokusō should be the first guess of anyone who properly understands the semantic-plus-phonetic-element nature of the majority of kanji.

      Even the semantic part works to your advantage somewhat, with 瘡 containing the yamaidare (疒)that’s normal in sickness-related characters. The first character can also be written 蓐, with the ‘grass’ radical, as seen in one of Debito’s links.

      I don’t think this word is any more frightening than — and is just as logical as — all the Latin- and Greek-based medical terminology in European languages. If someone could provide a good explanation of why the first character has the radicals that it has, this word might really be 100% logical. And if these nurses, in their studies of Japanese, haven’t learned the principles behind the construction of kanji, then they should demand their money back from their teachers, who should have made this clear to them.

      – Yes, quite. But if you’ve ever tried to learn kanji from people who don’t know how to teach it (as I have, and as most of my friends who have can attest), you’ll see how difficult it is — because the presumption is basically that sensei will teach it to full-grown non-natives like they themselves learned it, over the course of a childhood through high school imbued in it as their native language to begin with.

      And Mark, come on — you’re a linguist even more nerdy about kanji than I am (as you’ve proved by your radical analysis above)! A little more empathy for those just starting out at the deep end, what with medical language, and a job on top of that (see more about their job conditions in their own words here)!

    12. Nogbad Says:

      Ignoring the level of testing, which is clearly crazy (though there would be problems if qualified nurses didn’t have enough fluency or were trained to different standards to local hires), there is a problem with the numbers in this scheme. I wonder if the drop off after the first two years is due to fewer opportunities or more likely that potential candidates in Indonesia were put off by the stories from those already studying/working here? Of course, it may simply be that there aren’t that many nurses in Indonesia that have any interest in uprooting coming to Japan. Also the pass rate seems to be falling over time – is the exam getting harder or the teaching worse (one would expect improvements in any new course over the first few years), or is it that the most academically-acheieving nurses are staying away having found out about the reality? In any case, the GOJ is going to have to look elsewhere to supply the deficit in low grade care staff (and it appears that is what this programme is really about) that Japan so desperately needs to deal with its ageing population. I have seen long term care facilities in Japan – and it is not a pretty sight; although perfectly in keeping with the old-fashioned (some might say backward) approach to medicine here.

    13. Mark in Yayoi Says:

      “But if you’ve ever tried to learn kanji from people who don’t know how to teach it (as I have, and as most of my friends who have can attest), you’ll see how difficult it is — because the presumption is basically that sensei will teach it to full-grown non-natives like they themselves learned it, over the course of a childhood…”

      Debito, I agree entirely about this. Teaching language to adults as if they were still children, and ignoring all the adult-brain skills they now have in favor of the child-brain which has long since faded away is something that’s going to, someday, make today’s language pedagogy look like something out of the Dark Ages. My beef isn’t with the nurses, who deserve better teaching.

      Journalist Ms. Yanada, presumably Japanese, should know better. It’s telling that she claims that the word is “difficult to read”. It’s not; it’s a difficult word because of its obscurity, not because of the way it’s written.

      Using this example hurts the nurses’ cause. Readers who have been lucky enough to be trained in the structure of kanji — native Japanese speakers in particular — might well consider jokusō “easy to read” and dismiss their plight. I wish Ms. Yanada had chosen a better example.

    14. flyjin Says:

      Vietnam might be a better option(or worse, ie. backfire when more pass the test, depending on your point of view)-they still use some Chinese characters, 30-60% of vocabulary according to Wikipedia, which also states (no ref tho) “Chinese and Japanese have also grown in popularity as Vietnam’s links with China and Japan have strengthened.”

      Plus the most important thing- its still quite a poor, oppressive country so that means a cheap labor force that wants to escape to the relative freedom of paradise Japan, although with a shortage of nurses and hospital beds (I dont know if the latter would encourage nurses to come to Japan for “training” or not. Probably percieved economic benefits might though).

    15. Jim Di Griz Says:

      @Mark in Yayoi
      ‘I wish Ms. Yanada had chosen a better example.’

      Hello Mark, I bow to your superior kanji skills. I personally found the study of kanji most mind numbing and being forced to read Asahi Shinbun every morning for three years was one of the dullest periods of my life.
      It is therefore, that I would put forward that having such a Japanese language requirement for foreign nurses is quite ludicrous, since the individuals in question have already spent many years studying to become the master of a very particular skill; nursing. I think that it is quite unrealistic to expect them to become masters (that is to say, native speaker level, judging by the kanji requirements) of the Japanese language. Why can’t Japan adopt the use of English for such medical terms? Japanese air traffic controllers (by way of example), and pilots are required to use English everyday in their work. It is not impossible.
      Just like the economic and demographic crisis, Japan fails to confront the essential issue; there are not enough Japanese nurses, and too many sick/old people. NJ nurse, or no nurse, that’s the choice.
      ‘I wish Ms. Yanada had chosen a better example.’ Given that Ms. Yamada presumably learned Japanese from childhood as a native speaker, the possability exists that she is cognatily unable to choose a better example, because she doesn’t understand what the problem is.

    16. jim Says:

      and remember the people that come over here on this asinine bogus nursing program are already well trained and licensed nurses in there home country. So I cannot understand why they cant just starting working now because they don’t need to be retrained they just need some Japanese language classes that’s all! It seems like the asinine GOJ is making this harder than it really has to be.

    17. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      @ Jim,

      Unfortunately, they won’t need just Japanese language training.
      An example I saw on TV – the Indoneseian nurse, by training, doesn’t rush anywhere because in Indonesia it gives the appearance of being sloppy and unprepared. In that particular Japanese hospital at least, rushing gives the impression of being diligent.

      But, honestly, why so much emphasis on written languge skills? Do nurses really need to be able to write 蓐瘡? (It might be better if journalists did…) Spoken language is probably far more important, espeially for those relegated to aged care.

    18. Peter Says:

      @Jim: Isn’t this the case with most medical professionals, if they move from their home country (Where I assume they are licensed) to a foreign locale that they need to be, for lack of a better word/phrase, re-licensed in the local techniques? I come across stories from time to time in my preferred canadian newspaper talking about a doctor from, lets say eastern europe who moved to Ontario (where I’m from) and they have to go through the residency process again before they can practice medicine. I would assume this process is the same in most other countries in the world? (if someone can shoot this down, thank you for making me more intelligent)

      I certainly don’t agree with this practice, especially in area’s with a shortage of skilled personnel. It’s certainly not the foreign doctor or nurse’s fault.. we can blame the stupid bureaucratic walls that have been put up around them

    19. Futureal Says:

      “For example, the word “jokuso” (bedsore), which is difficult to read even for a Japanese if it is written in kanji, appeared in the exam.”

      Problematic assumption here, that Japanese = native speaker of Japanese. Another thing the author should have been more careful about.

    20. Bitter Valley Says:

      Take skilled and qualified personnel, exploit their labor on the cheap, and then kick them out before there is any chance of them establishing roots here. It also panders to the prejudice long treasured by Japanese racists that Japan is irreconcilably different from anywhere else, Japanese is impossible for foreigners to learn, etc. etc. What a disgrace.

      If the GOJ had any real intention of letting these nurses have a real stake in Japanese society, why would it not lengthen the program and structure it for success rather than failure. Why wouldn’t the Japanese government want to attracted skilled people to help out in Japan’s only sure-fired “growth industry” (dealing with the elderly and infirm).

      More cynically, I spot good old fashioned racism here. Ever since Meiji times “other Asians” have been considered lower on the racial pecking order and are therefore to be exploited (and invaded, colonized, and exploited, as was a former incarnation of Japanese policy).

      Did the GOJ invest the money it saved paying these nurses lower wages in proper language lessons taught by experienced and professional teachers. Perhaps I am making too many assumptions based on my own prejudices.

      However the terrible figures on pass rates seem to speak of a shame somewhat set up to succeed in exploiting these people for cheap labor and then having a pre-set excuse to fail them and kick them out.

      It makes you want to weep at the idiocy and arrogance of it all at the same time.

    21. Andrew in Saitama Says:

      @ Bitter Valley,

      There is one other sure-fire growth industry in Japan.
      But I’m not sure if the public is ready for NJs to handle funerals.

    22. ds Says:

      Agreed it sounds like a scam. However, I don’t think there is anything wrong with bringing caregviers in from other countries. Seems that there is a huge shortage of Japanese willing to work in both elder care and pre-school for kids. Nothing wrong with hiring Philipinos or Indonesians for these jobs, and they wouldnt have to worry about the daunting task of becoming fully literate in Japanese.

      The problem was hiring nurses from there to be nurses here.

    23. debito Says:

      UPDATE: Better results from the NJ nurses on the qualifying tests this year, but Mainichi writes an editorial (with some very different entitling between the English and the Japanese) that’s if anything even more harsh than I am above in it’s decrying of the system. Arudou Debito

      =====================================

      Mainichi Shimbun March 30, 2012, courtesy of JK
      Editorial: Japan must be more humble toward foreign care workers
      http://mdn.mainichi.jp/perspectives/news/20120330p2a00m0na005000c.html

      Thirty six applicants passed the first care worker exam held for foreign care workers under Japan’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with Indonesia and the Philippines. While the passing rate, at 37.9 percent, was higher than the 11.3 percent passing rate of Indonesian and Filipino nurses applying for Japanese nursing qualifications under the same agreements earlier this year, the number is still far from ideal.

      Accommodations to the applicants appear to have been made recently in the exams, including the use of furigana superscripts and the additional notation of English translations of disease names. The questions themselves seem to have become more of a practical nature. But still, technical words in Japanese appear frequently, and sentences can be difficult to decipher.

      The half-hearted nature of the exam modifications is evident in the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s review of vocabulary. Expressions have been altered, but they are kept at a halfway point between “technical” and “simple,” when “simple” would do just fine. Care workers deal with elderly people whose judgment and communication skills have become impaired. It is important that care workers get information across to their clients in easy-to-understand ways, and to intuit thoughts that clients may have trouble expressing clearly. How can a national exam that is meant to assess whether an applicant is qualified for this job, not employ clear enough language itself?

      The health ministry defends its language choices in the exam, citing “the need of care takers to use the language in carrying out duties in cooperation with doctors and nurses,” and “the undermining of academic foundations or confusion in the field” as its reasons. To the ministry, does making changes to the medical field itself not occur as a viable option?

      Easily-understood language is necessary for patients and third parties to check on the quality of their treatment and ensure transparency. Such methods of communication can also be of use in securing informed consent. In addition, ministry officials must understand the boredom felt by students taking classes at colleges specializing in social welfare, where memorization of abstract knowledge is stressed, even while the knowledge and skills necessary in the field remain in constant flux. What sort of “academic foundations” are so important that they must be protected even if it means sucking the motivation out of students who could be future care givers?

      Foreign candidates go through three years of practical training at care facilities in Japan before they are allowed to take the national qualification exam. Because their stay in Japan is limited to four years, in effect, foreign candidates only have one shot at the exam. Meanwhile, even without national certification, Japanese nationals are able to work at care facilities as official employees. Foreign candidates in training, however, are not considered “employees,” which means that care facilities cannot receive government subsidies to cover their salaries.

      Because of this, the number of foreign candidates has been dropping every year. The care sector is suffering a major labor shortage, many Japanese are being forced to leave their jobs to take care of aging family members, and there seems to be no end to the tragedy of elderly people facing death alone. Our already aging society is coming upon an even bleaker reality.

      The health ministry says the care worker certification program is a “special case with regards to the economic partnership agreement, and not a solution to the labor shortage,” and is not quite in step with other government ministries and agencies. This contrasts greatly with full-fledged efforts by South Korea and Taiwan to acquire foreign care workers. The care worker candidates who come to Japan are professionals. They have all attained university or other advanced degrees, as well as certification as care workers, in their home countries. We must be more humble and adopt the attitude there is much we can learn from them — not the other way around.

      (Mainichi Japan) March 30, 2012
      ========================================
      Original Japanese story:

      社説:外国人介護士 春、さらに門戸を開け
      毎日新聞 2012年3月30日
      http://mainichi.jp/select/opinion/editorial/news/20120330k0000m070116000c.html

       EPA(経済連携協定)に基づく初の介護福祉士試験で計36人のインドネシア人とフィリピン人が合格した。合格率は37.9%(全体は63.9%)。今年初めて11.3%になった看護師試験に比べれば格段に高いが、手放しでは評価できない。

       難しい漢字にふりがなを付け、病名には「認知症(dementia)」と英語が併記されるなど試験問題には配慮が見られるようになった。設問自体も実際の業務に役立つようなものが目立った。それでも腫脹(しゅちょう)、疾病罹患(りかん)、仰臥位(ぎょうがい)などの専門用語は多く、文章もまだわかりにくい。

       中途半端は厚生労働省が示した用語の見直し例に表れている。「光源を設ける→照明を設ける」「加齢変化→加齢による変化」。どうして「明るくする」「年をとることで変わる」ではダメなのか。介護福祉士は判断能力やコミュニケーション能力が劣ってくるお年寄りを相手にする仕事である。わかりやすく情報を伝え、明確に言い表せない意思をくみ取ることがとても大事だ。その資質を問う国家試験がこれでどうする。

       「医師や看護師などと連携して業務を行う上で必要」「易しい日本語に置き換えると学問の体系が崩れたり、現場に混乱が生じる」と厚労省は説明する。医療現場の方を変えるという発想はないのだろうか。患者や第三者が医療の内容をチェックし透明性を確保するにはわかりやすい言葉が必要だ。患者に対するインフォームド・コンセント(十分な説明に基づく同意)にも役立つはずだ。また、抽象的で形式的な知識の記憶を重視する福祉系大学の授業に学生たちがどれだけ退屈しているかも知るべきだ。現場で必要な知識やスキルは変わる。学生たちの意欲をそいでも守らなければならない学問的体系とはどのようなものだろう。

       外国人実習生は日本の介護施設で3年間実務経験をした後に国家試験を受ける。滞在は4年間に限られておりチャンスは原則1回だ。施設にとっては日本人なら無資格でも職員とみなされるが、外国人実習生は職員配置基準に算定できず介護報酬から人件費は出ない。このため来日する実習生は年々減っている。介護現場は人手不足に苦しみ、介護のため離職する家族、お年寄りの孤独死も後を絶たない。超高齢化はこれからが本番なのである。

       厚労省は「EPA上の特例で人手不足解消策ではない」と言い、他省庁との足並みもそろっていない。韓国や台湾が外国人の介護労働力確保に熱心なのとは対照的だ。実習生たちは母国では大学など高等教育を履修し介護福祉の資格を得ているプロである。もっと謙虚になって彼らから学ぶくらいの気持ちが必要だ。
      ENDS

    24. Jim Di Griz Says:

      Hi Debito,

      Just as a bit of a follow up, seems you were right.
      Here is the testimony of an Indonesian nurse who passed all the tests.
      But she says;
      ‘the country “is not prepared to open up as an international country.”‘, because ‘Tokyo,…, even appears “somewhat opposed to the idea,”‘.

      Case closed! You can file this under ‘vindicated’!

      Japan Times, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013
      Foreign nurse success story has message for Japan: Open up
      Indonesian who passed test cites snail’s pace of reform
      By JUN HONGO Staff writer

      The success story of Dewi Rachmawati may hold the key to coping with Japan’s declining population and quickly aging society. The struggles the Indonesian nurse has endured during her four years living in the country are what the government must rapidly remedy.

      “It was a very challenging time,” Rachmawati, who arrived in Japan in August 2008 to become a certified nurse, told The Japan Times last month. In an essay she wrote in Japanese that won a special prize from the Japan Immigration Policy Institute, she said the country “is not prepared to open up as an international country.”

      Tokyo, although having an economic partnership agreement with Indonesia and the Philippines to accept their nurse candidates, even appears “somewhat opposed to the idea,” she wrote. “Japan was a popular destination for nurses in Indonesia at first. But a number of those have given up and returned home, and it became clear for many that working in the country is not easy.”

      Rachmawati, 27, arrived in Japan under the EPA with Indonesia that aims to secure medical and welfare staff as the society continues to age quickly.

      The nurses must pass a national exam and become certified while training in the country. However, none of the 82 Indonesian applicants passed the test in 2009, while just two of 195 made it in 2010. In 2011, only 15 of the 285 Indonesians passed the exam.

      The government was slow to realize that the tests, given in Japanese and laden with complex medical terminology, were simply too demanding for most applicants. It did ease the language burden by listing pronunciations next to difficult kanji, but that helped little. A mere 47 of the 415 combined Indonesian and Philippine nationals passed the exam in 2012 — an 11.3 percent rate of success.

      Over 90 percent of Japanese, meanwhile, passed the test in 2012. Rachmawati was one of the 47 Indonesians and Filipinos who were certified. But despite working as a professional nurse at a Bali hospital for two years, it took her four years to take her first step as a nurse in Japan, she said. Her entire first year in the country was spent learning basic Japanese and the work routine, she said.

      The second year was spent learning kanji and also getting accustomed to Japanese culture. Still, she failed the national exam two years in a row.

      Rest of the article at http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20130109f1.html

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