Crisis won’t affect JPEPA deal, says Japan envoy

Published by rudy Date posted on January 29, 2009

NURSES and caregivers from the Philippines are still expected to benefit from the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership (JPEPA) despite the lingering global financial woes, an envoy said.

Makoto Katsura, Japan’s Ambassador to the Philippines, said Japan is still looking forward to having the 500 Filipino health workers that would be trained by JPEPA.

“I think [the global crisis] will not affect JPEPA because we still need nurses and caregivers,” Katsura said during the signing of Japan’s 860-million yen (P455 million) grant to the World Food Program in the Philippines, which includes purchasing rice for distribution to conflict-affected populations in Mindanao.

Under JPEPA, 300 caregivers and 200 nurses will undergo six months of Japanese Language training before working in Japanese hospitals. The Japanese government will shoulder the training expenses.

The first batch of deployment is set for April.

“The demand for them in Japan remains. JPEPA will match the skills of these health workers to our hospital needs,” the envoy pointed out.

Katsura noted that while Japan is still expected to register 2-percent growth in early 2009, health workers are becoming more a necessity. He cited Japan’s similar agreement with Indonesia as proof that his country remains open to deployment of migrant workers.

“There are around 200,000 thousand Filipinos in Japan, but we are yet to receive reports that they have been hugely affected by the crisis,” he said

The Japanese envoy also welcomed the decrease of tariffs for both Philippine and Japanese exports following a JPEPA provision, saying that such a move will be of help especially that Japan is reeling from the effects of the global financial crisis.

Besides JPEPA, Japan has been actively involved with the Philippines with a number of development projects, especially in Mindanao and is also a part of the International Monitoring Team that works with the Local Monitoring Team and the Joint Commission for the Cessation of Hostilities for maintaining ceasefire in Mindanao from October 2004 to November 2008 between government forces and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
–Llanesca T.Panti, Manila Times

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