Indonesian nurses to stay in Japan for extra shot at qualifying exam

The Japanese government plans to extend by a year the stays of Indonesian nurses and caregivers who came to Japan in 2008 under a bilateral accord, to give them an extra chance to take the yearly Japanese nursing qualification exam, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.

The move comes on the back of low qualification rates among Indonesian and Filipino nurses and caretakers, who have come to Japan with the requirement to pass the qualifying exam within three years of their respective arrivals or else be sent back to their countries, based on the economic partnership agreements which Japan has signed with Indonesia and the Philippines.

For those who came to Japan in 2008, the upcoming test in February would have been their last chance, but they would now be allowed to stay until August next year to have another try at the test to be held in February 2012.

More than a thousand nurses and caregivers have come to Japan from Indonesia and the Philippines since 2008 with the aim of becoming qualified to work in Japan. But so far, only two Indonesians and one Filipino have passed the Japanese nursing exam, all in the one held in February last year.

There had been calls from the nurses and caretakers as well as from facilities that have received them for training to extend the period of stay as it seemed difficult for them to pass the exam in the given period due to insufficient language and other training.

Starting with this year’s exam, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has decided to modify the Japanese expressions used in the questions to make it easier for foreigners to understand.