Japan to Accept 1,000 Nurses: Report

Japan will accept 1,000 nurses and health care workers from Indonesia from as early as next year under a free trade pact to help ease the country's shortage, a report in the Nikkei business daily said Saturday (22/12/07).

The move will mark the first time Japan has brought in foreign nurses and care workers on a full-time basis, it said.

The signing of an economic partnership agreement has opened the way for lower tariffs for Indonesian exporters to Japan, as well as more liberal access to its labor market.

Under the agreement on caregivers, Japan will accept 200 licensed nurses and 300 certified care workers every year for the next two years, the newspaper said. If the program is well received, the figures may be increased for the third year.

Nurses will be limited to staying for three years and care workers for four years on their Indonesian certificates and licenses but can extend their stay by passing Japanese nursing exams or receiving Japanese caregiverís certificates.

The economic pact, signed in August, has already been approved in Indonesia, while Japan's government submitted the measure to the legislature earlier this month with an eye to approval in the current Diet session or early next year.

The Japanese health ministry estimates the nation needs 40,000 more nurses, while the shortage is estimated to reach 450,000 to 550,000 by 2014, the Nikkei said.
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