Communications Strategy Secretary Ricky Carandang said that during the [17th summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] talks Friday night, [Japanese Prime Minister Naoto] Kan promised to help make it easier for Filipino nurses to pass Japanese exams so that they could work in Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.
Carandang told reporters that one of the options was to train the Filipino nurses to speak Japanese even before they leave for Japan and before they take the exam.
He noted that the language barrier was what made it hard for Philippine nurses to enter Japan.
“They recognize that. They want to use simplified characters, they want to use abbreviations that are more internationally accepted so that our nurses could be easily accepted in Japan,” he said.
The strict language requirements under the JPEPA is one of the points of contention in the controversial agreement, with the Philippine Nurses Association saying that the high language skills required was an “almost impregnable barrier” and could lead to Filipino nurses ending up providing cheap labor as nursing trainees in Japanese health care facilities.