Filipino caregivers deserve better

The Economic Partnership Agreement that Japan has with some countries, especially the Philippines, has placed many Filipino nurses and caregivers working in Japan in a miserable situation where they are subjected to unfair labor practices, extreme pressure to pass licensing exams in Japanese within three years, cramped living conditions and poor salaries.
With net pay (monthly) of only around ¥60,000, an often unsupportive work environment because of the lack of programs, and constant comparisons between the local and foreign workforce, employment in Japan has become a nightmare for many foreign health workers. The Japan International Corporation for Welfare Services has not done anything to remedy the situation. Nor has it transferred foreign workers to fairer and higher-paying hospitals. Yet, it is getting ready to recruit the second batch of unsuspecting nurses and caregivers.
Japan must stop hiring overseas workers only to subject them to extreme poverty and unfair labor conditions. If it values the service that these devoted health workers provide to Japanese society, nurse licensing exams must appear in an easier format that includes furigana phonetic guides for kanji so that the workers can pass them in three years. An effective Japan nurse orientation program for newcomers would also help.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer's own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.