TOKYO, Japan – Three foreign nurses on Friday passed the Japanese nursing exam, the first to do so under Japan’s drive to attract Asians to help ease the nation’s severe shortage of nurses.
Two Indonesian nurses and one from the Philippines overcame language barriers and passed the test after coming to Japan in 2008 and 2009, the health ministry said.
However, 251 others from the two nations failed, apparently due to language troubles since all of them are licensed nurses in their home countries.
About nine out of 10 Japanese students passed the same test.
“It is certain that issues like Chinese characters (as part of the Japanese language) have been a serious problem,” Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told a news conference.
“Those are people who have high aspirations to become nurses in Japan, even when they are licensed at home,” Okada said.
“It is not desirable that most of those who are working so hard fail the test. I think the government must do something about this,” he said.
Japan started accepting nurses from Asia since 2008 under bilateral economic partnership agreements to ease the severe shortage of nurses as the elderly population continues to expand.
Under the agreements, foreign nurses can work in Japan for up to three years as nurse assistants to prepare for the Japanese test. They must return home if they cannot not pass the test. –abs-cbnNEWS.com