Despite the low percentage of Filipinos who pass the Japanese nursing licensure examination, Japan is determined to seek out more Filipino nurses for training and employment through the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) program.
In an interview with Manila Bulletin, Yusuke Tsujikawa, an official of the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare’s Economic Partnership Agreement Office and managing director of Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services (JICWELS), said that “Yes, we will continue to do it.”
“We will continue to assist them in passing the examination,” Tsujikawa continued. “I don’t know what the remedy is but we will reinforce the assistance from now on.”
Back in 2009, Japan began recruiting Filipino nurses under the Framework for the Movement of Natural Persons of JPEPA which officially took off on December 11, 2008, after a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) and JICWELS. Eventually, POEA started endorsing Filipino healthcare professionals to JICWELS.
On the other hand, JICWELS matched nurses and caregivers to Japan-based hospitals and institutions that are qualified to receive Filipino workers. Chosen candidates were required to complete a 6-month language and culture training in preparation for taking the Japanese licensure examination. Candidates are allowed to take the said exam at least 3 times within 3 years.
Filipino nurses who qualify and pass the exam will be able to enjoy the same salaries equivalent to what Japanese nurses earn.
For the past 7 years, however, only 77 Filipinos have successfully passed the licensure examinations out of the 412 individuals who took it. As of present time, 61 of the 77 are still working in Japan.
“It’s not the exam that is difficult,” Tsujikawa pointed out. “The actual difficulty is in the language barrier.”
Still, Japan has expressed willingness to help in the process in order to allow more Filipino nurses to get recruited.