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Indonesian, Filipino nurses to be allowed to stay extra year to pass exam

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The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said Tuesday it will extend the stay of nursing and caregiver trainees from Indonesia and the Philippines for an extra year to allow those who failed the qualifying exam another chance to pass it.

Many candidates have had trouble passing the Japanese-language exam, the ministry said. Only 30 out of 311 trainees passed the exam this year, the Nikkei reported Tuesday.

In 2013, the ministry made some concessions to give Indonesians and Filipinos a better chance of passing the exam. They were given 30% longer to complete the test and hiragana character readings were provided above all of the kanji on the test paper.

Japan's Economic Partnership Agreement is a bilateral free-trade accord that offers non-Japanese applicants the opportunity to work as nurses and caregivers in Japan, if they can overcome the language barrier during the training period. However, analysts say that although Japanese care workers at nursing care facilities are paid by local governments, facilities must pay any foreign candidates accepted as trainees from their own funds, disincentivizing the employment of non-Japanese workers.

Japan began accepting care worker applicants from Indonesia in 2008. In the first year of the program, 104 non-Japanese passed the exams, followed by 379 in 2009. Since then, the annual total has remained below 150.

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If Japan was really interested in becoming "internationalized" and use English fluently this test would be in English!

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

This article makes me want to ask many questions.

With regards to being a caregiver, just what is involved? If there is a shortage of them in Japan, is it difficult to train locals, considering the ongoing unemployment situation? Or is it a matter of poor working conditions (long hours/little pay, etc) that deter potential applicants?

For the record, I fully support the influx of skilled foreign workers such as these, if they are necessary. In which case, it seems quite sensible to extend the visas of the trainees as mentioned above. But I'd like to know how many continue to work in Japan, and perhaps move here permanently, as opposed to "pass an exam", which to me as somebody not familiar with what's really going on, seems rather vague. Pass an exam, and do what thereafter?

Also, considering the exams are/will be using furigana, how effective is this in the real world? And, as learning hiragana is not very difficult, how about starting to study back home, or is this already the case?

More information please.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

How great , that will solve Japan,s carer labor force shortage for sure. Seriously, they might get an extra dozen who might decide to try the exam again ( rest will probably go home and try to get visas for Australia, Canada etc...where there is a nurses shortage and conditions much better ).

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I do not see nursing conditions here as bad. Most I know and have been involved with fro various hospitalizations have always been pleasant, friendly, smart and caring.

Putting kana over kanji in magazines and newspapers would also bened¥fit not just outsiders, but also Japanese that have a hard time with the language. Might get them to read more rather than playing video games.

Glad they added another year, but it will take more than another year.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If Japan was really interested in becoming "internationalized" and use English fluently this test would be in English!

Are you suggesting teaching the current group of elderly/infirm/handicapped English overnight?

Even if a substantial number of the current generation of young Japanese became fluent (in which they'd beat my country hands down with regards to learning any second language, Japanese or not), it is to be expected there would also be significant numbers of people who did not master the language.

Fluency aside, there's also the problem that some would forget as they get older.

Seriously, countries with "good" progress in teaching English, or whatever, as a second language, don't do this, so why should Japan? Was this even a serious suggestion, or just snark?

5 ( +8 / -4 )

Many candidates have had trouble passing the Japanese-language exam, the ministry said. Only 30 out of 311 trainees passed the exam this year, the Nikkei reported Tuesday.

Now there's an understatement. I'd say an over 90% failure rate qualifies as "many". And of course the "solutuon" is just squeeze another year out of these folks, rather than re-structure the program so people can actually pass.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Ohh noes im not going to risk my life in a different language and hand written, I will choose the English country which i can protect myself in any trouble.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It’s a cultural problem that will never change. Language shouldn’t be viewed as a subject as it’s way to complex for that. They got it right where grammar and vocabulary is important, but you only really need basic grammar and up to intermediate vocab and the rest will fall into place when you actually try to use it on your own. After you memorize the basics (which is a must) then you start to use it speaking and reading…which will add to what you already know or reinforce it. Japanese have an image of what is supposed to be (on many things for that matter), rather than just taking the proper steps and going for it. Also they do to many things at once and learning a language needs a lot of focus. If you are around Japanese long enough you will see how they deal with many things in the same manner. The only people who can do well are the weird ones who step out of the Japanese box.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

rather than re-structure the program so people can actually pass

Perhaps you'd like to share your in-depth knowledge regarding the program?

I'm guessing that, in your expert opinion, "re-structure the program" doesn't mean making it less meaningful, or impede the actually reliability of the nurses/caregivers who are there to do a difficult job that leaves no room for mistakes.

Besides adding furigana to the kanji, (hmm) perhaps the test can be additionally simplified somehow? Maybe a cheatsheet with the answers for written tests? An interpreter on hand for anything else?

My impression is that the authorities in question are already bending over backwards to help the trainees. But the bottom line is that, if they work in Japan, they'll need to be able to communicate with other staff and patients, and also read to a certain degree. This would apply to medical staff working in any country.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

If Japan was really interested in becoming "internationalized" and use English fluently this test would be in English!

I don't think their predominantly elderly Japanese patients who know little to no English would appreciate that very much, not to mention the ones with dementia, etc.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Looking though various employment ads recently, I have noticed that there is the reverse racism/selection based on one's nationality related to this line of work. There are many job ads were the employers specifically underline that they would hire/consider only people from the Phillipnes, Indonesian or Vietnam, which I find a bit odd. Why shouldn't an Ethiopean or an Italian person willing to work in welfare facilities considered on equal footing?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there is a shortage of everything in Japan considering her population decline and the growing numbers of elderly citizen.

But this is Japan being Japan. Where instead of making things easy and efficient they will make things complicated. (not only on medical field)

I have lot's of filipino nurse friends who showed some interests in the beginning, however these strict Nihongo Tests lost their interests and just decided to practice their proffesions in Middle east, Europe and Americas. They don't want to invest and waste 2 years to master Nihongo (no salary) and get a very low compensation later on, this is really a bad investment for them.

The salary that America and Middle east offer are really way higher than what they will get from Japan plus in US' and Canada's case they will get green cards automatically.

About the Nihongo and Kanji etc. There are lot's of non english speaking countries in the Middle east and using arabic as writing systems, how come it worked in their countries and not in Japan?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Perhaps you'd like to share your in-depth knowledge regarding the program?

I'm guessing that, in your expert opinion, "re-structure the program" doesn't mean making it less meaningful, or impede the actually reliability of the nurses/caregivers who are there to do a difficult job that leaves no room for mistakes.

Reformed -- nice sarcasm. Too bad it is misplaced. Actually, when I lived in Japan, I was friends with a large number of the Filipinas who came to Japan for this program. So I do have some basis to offer an opinion, even if not an expert one. (What is your basis?).

What I meant was that this is not new news. The failure rate on this program has been at this level for probably close to ten years now. Given that fact, maybe Japan should just bite the bullet and accept the fact that they are a shrinking population, with a very difficult langauge, and throwing people into the deep end of the pool -- by bringing them to Japan and expect them to both learn the langauge, plus their nursing/care-giving responsibilities -- is asking too much. Why don't they open a coupe of satelite campuses of Japanese schools in these countries (like Temple has here), and offer scholarships to students for taking the programs? They could teach half the day in the native langauge, and half the day in Japanese. That way the students are more comfortable, since they are still in their native surroundings. The point being bringing over 300 to Japan, and flunking 90% every year, is not working, and probably costing a lot of money. And, as Einstein said, that is just the definition of insanity. So why not try something new?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

slumdog

I don't think their predominantly elderly Japanese patients who know little to no English would appreciate that very much, not to mention the ones with dementia, etc.

So you are suggesting to isolate themselves? If Japan doesn't want to be extinct…then they have to adjust even just a little bit to foreign standards.

Or find a way to take care of their elderly with their serious declining population, maybe robots will do the job for them.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@noypikantoku

Agree with the thrust of your argument, but the Arabic alphabet has only twenty-eight letters, as opposed to the over two thousand kanji needed to read Japanese. Not a very valid comparison.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

ReformedBasherFeb. 25, 2015 - 08:26AM JST Are you suggesting teaching the current group of elderly/infirm/handicapped English overnight?

Two points here:

Have you spoken to any elderly people lately? Their Japanese is completely different from what you learn in your textbooks, full of regional dialect, phrases that have gone out of fashion and passing the JLPT N1 wouldn't equip you to understand more than half of what they say.

Do you even understand what is in the test? It is almost entirely highly technical medical Japanese, which has ZERO cross-over with the Japanese used by patients. It is useful only for speaking to Japanese doctors, who do understand regular Japanese and most speak English.

There is no reason that the main portion of the test shouldn't be in English, with two smaller sections on Japanese ability entitled "Reporting to doctors" and "Speaking to patients" where they cover the Japanese specifically required for interactions with patients and doctors. Making the entire test in Japanese is... well, it requires Japanese skills well in excess of JLPT N1.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

lucabrasi

but the Arabic alphabet has only twenty-eight letters, as opposed to the over two thousand kanji needed to read Japanese. Not a very valid comparison.

its not about comparing complications of these 2 writing systems, it's about understanding them. My filipino friends in middle east don't read and speak arabic when they started however it worked fine for them for years, now they can speak and read the very very basics after working there for years and still no problems.

Plus, there is always a way... like english Translations? I don't believe that drug companies and hospitals in Japan can't afford english translations

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The tests should not be made easier for them. Would you want a foreign nurse misunderstanding the instructions that were given to her in kanji or the medicine that was written to your loved ones? Either pass the test or don't pass it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

To you people "internationalized" obviously means "throw away your language and use English". If only 10% of the applicants can pass the test, it's working excellently. JLPT N1 should be a prerequisite to work in any medical profession in Japan and the extra technical jargon required is merely vocabulary, and they even give them furigana (which is really unlikely to be used on official paperwork)

noypikantokuFeb. 25, 2015 - 11:32AM JST

If you come to a country that isn't either the UK or a colony and expect to work in the medical profession and use English, you'll have a bad time.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ noypikantoku

Here's my idea. A bit complicated but it'd work. utilise the best points about the alphabet and the kanji. The alphabet is easy to read, the kanji are easy to understand.

1) Take the Japanese. Say, "糖尿病". No non-Japanese speaker will understand it.

2) Translate it literally. "Diabetes" may be the correct translation, but non-English speakers won't understand. So "糖尿病" becomes ""sugar urine disease".

3) Abbreviate the translation. So "diabetes" becomes "SUD" for everybody in the hospital.

Angina would be HTE, asthma would be ZS.

Simple!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yubaru: "If Japan was really interested in becoming "internationalized" and use English fluently this test would be in English!"

I'd hazard a guess you don't live here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Have you spoken to any elderly people lately? Their Japanese is completely different from what you learn in your textbooks, full of regional dialect, phrases that have gone out of fashion and passing the JLPT N1 wouldn't equip you to understand more than half of what they say.

If you make that an excuse, people from different parts of Japanese would not be able to be nurses or careworkers in other parts of Japan for the same reasons. A Japense person from Okinawa moving and working in Iwate would experience the exact same difficulties. However, the elderly in Iwate would be able to understand anything the Japanese person were to say in standard Japanese. The same would hold true for a non-Japanese that could spoke decent Japanese.

Do you even understand what is in the test? It is almost entirely highly technical medical Japanese, which has ZERO cross-over with the Japanese used by patients.

Have you worked in a hospital, because it really seems as though you have not. Japanese medical professionals often use medical terms when talking to patients and their families. Heck, you don't even have had to have worked in a hospital. Just having visited one would have resulted in the same gained knowledge about language usage.

It is useful only for speaking to Japanese doctors, who do understand regular Japanese and most speak English.

'Most doctors in Japan speak English'? Ummm...I have to ask, have you ever been to Japan? While most Japanese doctors do know a lot of medical English terms, but extending that to 'most Japanese doctors speak English' is a huge stretch.

There is no reason that the main portion of the test shouldn't be in English, with two smaller sections on Japanese ability entitled "Reporting to doctors" and "Speaking to patients" where they cover the Japanese specifically required for interactions with patients and doctors. Making the entire test in Japanese is... well, it requires Japanese skills well in excess of JLPT N1.

This would allow them to be assistant nurses, but the fact that they cannot read or understand anything technical around them would be a huge problem in the workplace.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The government do not want these trainees to pass the exam and stay in Japan. What they want is cheap labour and an excuse to kick them out of Japan after a few years. If the kanji are really so important why don't they bring in Chinese workers? Answer: because they might pass the exam and stay.

Moderator: Please refrain from posting rubbish like this and try to learn something about the topic before you post comments on it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

lucabrasi

exactly, like the way they do it in Movies. Have the exact Japanese words above below is the english counterpart of that word (not literal meaning of Kanji) .

What the Nurses don't want is to stop their practice because they have to focus on studying nihongo which they need to invest about 2 years, and then they are not sure if they will pass the test or not, because if they fail they lost 2 years of their lives and I don't think it's a good idea to re-take again.

And I am not suggesting the nurses to not study Nihongo at all.

I think they can do the same style as middle east, start with at least basic nihongo when they arrive and start working in Japan and then study the language while working until they become really good at it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

From previous stories I have read on this, the biggest problem (as pointed out above) is the complexity and difficulty level of the kanji portion of the test. The kanji required is much higher than JLPT N1, and is, in fact, more difficult than most native university students can pass. If my memory is correct, when a sample section of Japanese native nurses were given the same (or similar) test, almost the same percentage of them failed the kanji portion as the non-native nurses.

The fact is, the test is rigged to fail.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Frungy

I had you specifically in mind when I wrote my first comment. You can, correctly, choose to regard that as a compliment if you wish to do so.

In answer to your points.

Have you spoken to any elderly people lately?

Continuously. Friends, relatives, co-workers and the occasional stranger.

Their Japanese is completely different from what you learn in your textbooks, full of regional dialect, phrases that have gone out of fashion and passing the JLPT N1 wouldn't equip you to understand more than half of what they say.

I'm aware of that. But,

Do you even understand what is in the test?

No. That's why I'm asking. Thank you sincerely for giving some insight.

It is almost entirely highly technical medical Japanese, which has ZERO cross-over with the Japanese used by patients.

Okay.

It is useful only for speaking to Japanese doctors, who do understand regular Japanese and most speak English.

The middle part of your sentence is odd and I think an exaggeration. Also I'm not sure whether the 2nd part is true or not. From my very limited experience, I recall that the few medical professionals I've conversed with speak some English, but often use "difficult" medical terms, rather than "common" English. But let's let that slide. One concern is, despite assumed enthusiasm on the part of all parties - nurse/caregiver, doctor, patient - misunderstandings will occur. True that this happens even with all concerned fluent in the same language, but probably more frequent in the case of not fully understanding each other.

That said, I can imagine scenarios where suitable arrangements may be made to compensate for this and foreign staff can be put to good use.

I'd like to point out to you, and you too jerseyboy, that I'm not lying when I state that I'd like to see these applicants pass the tests, and gain employment here, if they can. I too have Filipina friends (none Indonesian), and assure you that I have no bias whatsoever in this regard. I am merely interested in practicality, fair play and oversight. People should not be employed just to satisfy intake quotas.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Magnus Roe

If you come to a country that isn't either the UK or a colony and expect to work in the medical profession and use English, you'll have a bad time.

Then what is your suggestion? Who will take care of their elderly then? The decline of the population in Japan is serious. Wait for few more years to feel the impact of this problem and don't expect the world to adjust to Japanese , if they want foreigners to take care of their old folks they have to make it easy or compromise, Otherwise this will be the problem. Extending a year to pass the test will not help convince the nurses. Only Japan otaku nurses will bite this. But for normal nurses, they will always look for other opportunities outside Japan.

Not all human beings in this planet are Japanophilies and willing to risk two years of their lives especially if the VISA package they will offer is not a long term or permanent.

It's Simple, keep their isolated domestic standards and no one will come, or compromise to international standards and people will take interest.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As others have said, the government's response to the labour shortage and the obvious failures of the policies they've had in practice for the last 10 years is quite simply insane. Reminds me of where I read once that if you trod on the tail of a Brontosaurus, it took 5 minutes for the message to arrive at its brain. Whether true or not, this is what is happening in Japan, as it contemplates its own demise but not actually doing anything meaningful. For another perspective, the UK, which is slightly behind Japan in the demographic curve, has for years been recruiting health workers from abroad. Not just care assistants, but nurses and doctors. One of these articles deals with the language issue for Spanish staff (and this was 15 years ago!) http://www.theguardian.com/society/2000/nov/07/futureofthenhs.health Some more recent statistics in this one http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/17/nhs-nurse-shortage-health-service-overseas

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I've been here more than 6 years and I still don't fully comprehend the Japanese language. So 1 year extra to study the language would be appreciated and perhaps extremely necessary, especially when it comes to be able to work in the health sector.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"although Japanese care workers at nursing care facilities are paid by local governments, facilities must pay any foreign candidates accepted as trainees from their own funds"

This is where the government should make changes. Apparently, we have no choice but get labor force from overseas to compensate for the shortage of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'the test would be in English', I am FOR this top comment of yubaru. Yubaru means Test would be in English, but nursing not necessarily in English. The test should be to judge the technical skills and knowledge of the trainees,not daily Japanese vocabularies. For nurses and caregivers, Japanese for daily conversation with patients is a kind of 'must' , but Indonesians or Filipinos would easily get them during their stay.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This article deals with the language issue.

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/feb/24/spanish-nurses-job-nhs-health

What's clear is that although Japanese might be considered particularly difficult, the issues of recruiting nurses who aren't fluent in a language is not unique to Japan, and if other countries can make it work, if Japan's government acted more intelligently and pragmatically, they could start to tackle this problem. What they don't want to do is let go of the idea that coming to this island is a priveledge and that people are beating down the doors to come here, where the reality is that Japan has far, far fewer options than the health workers looking to leave their own countries to work.

Just a look at the numbers says it all. 30 trainees passed the exam. After working here several years, becoming familiar with how things work, the other 280 are presumably packed off back to their own countries. What a waste of skills! Comparing with the UK again, a typical large hospital might recruit around 50 nurses from one country over a single year. That's the kind of scale that Japan needs to think of, and that's for nurses, not just care assistants. They need to start opening up to doctors as well. Swim or sink.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ReformedBasherFeb. 25, 2015 - 01:29PM JST I had you specifically in mind when I wrote my first comment. You can, correctly, choose to regard that as a compliment if you wish to do so.

Well... thank you... umm.. sortof. Wow, I was a bit of a grouch wasn't I?

It is useful only for speaking to Japanese doctors, who do understand regular Japanese and most speak English.

The middle part of your sentence is odd and I think an exaggeration. Also I'm not sure whether the 2nd part is true or not. From my very limited experience, I recall that the few medical professionals I've conversed with speak some English, but often use "difficult" medical terms, rather than "common" English. But let's let that slide.

These nurses are trained medical professionals, and most of them were trained in English, so the "difficult" medical terms are familiar to them.

One concern is, despite assumed enthusiasm on the part of all parties - nurse/caregiver, doctor, patient - misunderstandings will occur. True that this happens even with all concerned fluent in the same language, but probably more frequent in the case of not fully understanding each other.

I think this concern over misunderstandings is overblown. When you understand the type of work they're going to be doing this becomes clearer.

Nurses work is mostly mechanical, they visit the elderly (either in their homes or more normally they're in retirement homes and the nurse is permanently stationed there). They check vitals (minimal communication skills required), assist in bathing the elderly (again minimal communication skills required apart from, "please remove your hand from my buttock"), and ensure that the elderly take their medication (and if you can read, 1日2回朝・夜 then you know enough to put the pills in the right trays). Apart from that they're just on the lookout for mostly physical symptoms like complaints of unusually high levels of pain, paleness, jaundice, difficulty moving, and so forth.

The level of communication skills required to perform routine monitoring is dramatically over-stated, and you don't need every nurse to speak Japanese at a level exceeding N1. It is just Japan shooting itself in the foot.

The bottom line here is that this is Japan's old "Use 'em and lose 'em" philosophy in full force. They get these "trainee" nurses (they're fully qualified back home) and pay them peanuts because they're only "trainees", then send the vast majority of them back home after a few years, confident that another truckload will arrive the next day to be used as cheap labour.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These nurses are trained medical professionals, and most of them were trained in English, so the "difficult" medical terms are familiar to them.

You missed the poster's point completely. The poster was trying to explain to you that medical professionals the poster spoke could only say difficult medical terms, but could not actually speak normal or conversational English. I agree with that poster.

The level of communication skills required to perform routine monitoring is dramatically over-stated, and you don't need every nurse to speak Japanese at a level exceeding N1.

I cannot imagine any country allowing nurses to work that could not understand the written language or working language of the country they were to work in. What you continue to describe a nursing assistant kind of job. Regular licensed nurses in Japan need to be able to understand the language around them. They also need to be able to converse with the nurses and doctors around them about the work they do. It is highly unrealistic and dangerous to expect nurses that are basically illiterate to work in a medical environment. It is asking for a whole bunch of medical malpractice cases.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I'd like to point out to you, and you too jerseyboy, that I'm not lying when I state that I'd like to see these applicants pass the tests, and gain employment here, if they can. I too have Filipina friends (none Indonesian), and assure you that I have no bias whatsoever in this regard. I am merely interested in practicality, fair play and oversight. People should not be employed just to satisfy intake quotas

Reformed -- LOL. Yup, you'd like to see them pass, so long as they can do it at their risk/expense and virtually none on the part of the Japanese government, since, as Frungy points out, this is basically a program that preys on the large number of (mainly) young women in these countries looking to get out/better themselves for the good of their families. And, if, as you claim, you really knew any Filipinas, you would know that, and you'd take the government to task for bringing these folks to Japan for two years of slave labor, rather than defending it. A country as "great" as Japan should be able to find a way to solve a 90% failure rate, not simply extend the visas for these well-intentioned people another year to take further advantage of them. Which, my guess is, they are doing not because they expect a big increase in the pass rate, but simply because they are having a more difficult time getting folks into the program, since the high failure rate is becoming more and more well-known. (Da, the Internet.)

0 ( +2 / -2 )

jerseyboyFeb. 25, 2015 - 11:05PM JST Which, my guess is, they are doing not because they expect a big increase in the pass rate, but simply because they are having a more difficult time getting folks into the program, since the high failure rate is becoming more and more well-known. (Da, the Internet.)

You're entirely correct. The number has been dropping year-on-year, but its difficult to get a clear picture of the statistics because of the Touhoku earthquake - quite a number of the foreign trainee nurses left around that time after radiation worries and the numbers haven't recovered yet.

To those who think that it is reasonable to require someone to have Japanese proficiency above N1 just to earn a salary of about 270 000 a month, ask yourself how much an interpreter/translator with N1 is paid in Japan. The answer is, "A lot more than 270k a month".

These nurses aren't stupid. If they have a qualification that pays better than nursing then why be a nurse? The work is difficult, dangerous, dirty and badly paid. By contrast the life of an interpreter or medical sales representative is a walk in the park.

That's the idiocy of the program as it is right now. But the bureaucrats just don't see the issue, because they think, "Japanese-born nurses are fluent in Japanese, so to be 'fair' we should have the same requirement for non-Japanese nurses."

... 'fair' would be requiring all Japanese nurses to be as fluent in English as a Filipino nurse.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To those who think that it is reasonable to require someone to have Japanese proficiency above N1 just to earn a salary of about 270 000 a month, ask yourself how much an interpreter/translator with N1 is paid in Japan. The answer is, "A lot more than 270k a month".

Well, that is a different story and a part of the reason that so many Japanese nurses also do not stay in the field. The pay stinks and the work is extremely 'difficult, dangerous and dirty'. But, that is entirely different than not being able to understand the language enough to function in the same way as a nurse that can speak Japanese effectively.

Again, if you were a patient, would you want a nurse that you have admitted needs to be able to understand the language of a difficult, dangerous and dirty job, but can't, as you nurse?

Patient: Excuse me, nurse. Why can't I do...? Nurse: Sorry, I don't know how to explain it. I'll get another nurse for you.

So, the bottom line is that the pay stinks for a difficult job. That is why hospitals can't seem to keep the Japanese nurses they have, which is one of the reason why this program is needed in the first place. People who have studied for three to four years in regular nursing schools are quitting in very high numbers.

'fair' would be requiring all Japanese nurses to be as fluent in English as a Filipino nurse.

They are in English speaking countries. Japanese is not an English speaking country.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

medical terms are usually not in kanjis that many Japanese do not understand. Filipino and Indonesians are fluent in English In Japan, since 1945, Jr Sr Hs, Univ teaches English so we can not say doctors do not know English. Only too stupid uneducated Japanese will not understand English speaking medical stuff. Test should use English or maybe already in kana. Medicines are usually not in Japanese language. Maybe not in English but spelled in alphabet.

''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Have you spoken to any elderly people lately?

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''

Unless comment participant skip all of my comment, they are communicationg with at least one elderly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Jr Sr Hs, Univ teaches English so we can not say doctors do not know English.

LOL, thank you for my chuckle of the day.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

IF they get deoirted, they probably come to USA to become nurses etc. There are bunch of filipino, Chinese, etc doctors. If they can speak some Japanese, they get assignment gf Japanese people. Pay is not low like Japan, HOW many dollars is 210 000 yen?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

toshikoFeb. 26, 2015 - 08:30AM JST IF they get deoirted, they probably come to USA to become nurses etc. There are bunch of filipino, Chinese, etc doctors. If they can speak some Japanese, they get assignment gf Japanese people. Pay is not low like Japan, HOW many dollars is 210 000 yen?

A fair point. The lowest paid 10% of nurses in the USA are paid $45,630 a year, which comes to about 452,000yen a month... in other words Japan wants these nurses to work for low pay for several years in order to qualify as nurses in Japan, and to acquire Japanese language skills that are actually worth MORE than the nursing job... and at the end of this it is still paying a lot less than the lowest paid nursing jobs in the USA.

As for those making a big fuss about language, almost everyone reading this has had to struggle through a medical consultation with a doctor or nurse in Japan who barely spoke any English. We all managed to communicate the necessary information. One does not require complete fluency to take a medical history and deal with basic complaints.

Is it desirable? Yes. But I also desire many things I will probably never have. Reality is very different from the realm of desire, and Japan needs to wake up and realise that they're not going to get the ideal situation. Nurses not speaking perfect Japanese might, possibly, perhaps, result in one or two avoidable deaths, but we're already seeing avoidable deaths on a daily basis from insufficient nursing staff, and it is far more than one or two.

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acquire Japanese language skills that are actually worth MORE than the nursing job

Actually, in many situations there is not much of a difference in that regard. Your idea of how much translators make is rather optimistic.

almost everyone reading this has had to struggle through a medical consultation with a doctor or nurse in Japan who barely spoke any English

? What happened to this?

most speak English.

Anyway, you seem to continue to mix apples and oranges.

The lowest paid 10% of nurses in the USA are paid $45,630 a year

In the US the test is in English and nurses must be able to speak English.

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There were 1,537,813 nurses in Japan in 2012, an increase of 21.2% over 2003, with all years between 2003 and 2012 showing an increase of between 15K and 42K nurses per year. Can't see the point in a program that only permits "less than 150" foreign graduates a year.

Japan Nursing Association total employment table: http://www.nurse.or.jp/home/publication/toukei/pdf/toukei01.pdf

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What is the problem.

Japanese is needed here as the majority of patients are Japanese, reports, etc are also in Japanese(even for non-japanese soeakers) and so on. So expecting JLPT 1(high school level) is NOT unreasonable.

The number of English speakers that visit doctors is also small, most foreigners I know speak good enough Japanese to not need a translator.

With the Chinese, Korean, tourists being on the increase I would texpect hose language skills being in demand.

My home-country has many Chinese nurses and they all speak the local language fluently, basic requirement.

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My home-country has many Chinese nurses and they all speak the local language fluently, basic requirement.

I agree 100%. I honestly think that the people having trouble with this have not really thought through their opinion. They know if they were in their own country that they would want doctors and nurses that both understood and could speak the local language.

One poster above mentioned the US, but he neglects that fact that the licensing procedure and the very test itself is, of course, in English in the various states in that country.

It is a natural and very realistic expectation that medical professionals will be proficient in the local language of the country they are working in.

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It"S MEFeb. 26, 2015 - 01:27PM JST Japanese is needed here as the majority of patients are Japanese, reports, etc are also in Japanese(even for non-japanese soeakers) and so on. So expecting JLPT 1(high school level) is NOT unreasonable.

Clearly reading a medical report with confusing "Japanese" acronyms like GTP, LDL, HDL... oh, wait, these are all English acronyms.

The number of English speakers that visit doctors is also small,

Please provide a source for this, because merely repeating this doesn't make it true.

most foreigners I know speak good enough Japanese to not need a translator.

And "good enough Japanese" here means, "very little". Think N4 or N3. Not N1.

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Frungy,

Your position is unrealistic and unreasonable. The local language here is Japanese. It is realistic and reasonable to expect medical professionals to speak the local language.

This is true of the country you have brought up a couple of times in this discussion: the US.

When you suggest that it is okay for foreign nurses not to be able to communicate and to just do 'mechanical jobs', you are advocating the same pay for people who cannot do the same job.

What really needs to be done is to take steps to make a work environment and pay scale that prevents the amount of Japanese nurses from quitting in the numbers that they do.

There is nothing wrong with bringing in foreign workers. In fact, I support it. However, they should be fit to do the job they've been hired to do just like the native born professionals around them. That is true internationalization.

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Frungy.

Given the foreigner to Japanese ratio I can't see the need for an English need(doubt that the majority of foreigners Korean and Chinese are all English speakers). Most foreigners I know here aka Asians speak no English, many(African) only speak French, Portuguese.

Nurses have to read and write report logs about patients and what happened during their shift, as well as instructions for special cases. In short everyday Japanese and not medical acronyms.

Would be nice if you replied to my whole post instead of picking and choosing.

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I live in USA. I have to have annual medical test. My doctors are Chinese and Filippino. Then new kind of medical equipments have Japanese company brand such as Olympus, Canon, etc. To be nice to me, some kind of Asian technitians are assigned as they can say Konnichiwa, Sayounara. Of cause they are fluent in English. You hardly find /American born doctors or medical stuffs here. Shortage in medical workers are not limited to Japan. Pharmacoies have some kind of oriental pharmacists.

============================================================

@€It"S MEFEB. 26, 2015 - 05:11PM JST

Nurses have to read and write report logs about patients and what happened during their shift, as well as instructions for special cases. In short everyday Japanese and not medical acronyms.

==============================================================

It seems you never worked for Japanese doctors or hospitals in Japan. So you think these are difficult Japanese language.

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It"S MEFeb. 26, 2015 - 05:11PM JST Given the foreigner to Japanese ratio I can't see the need for an English need(doubt that the majority of foreigners Korean and Chinese are all English speakers). Most foreigners I know here aka Asians speak no English, many(African) only speak French, Portuguese.

Only speak French and Portuguese? ... Have you been to Africa? I have and almost everyone spoke at least enough English to get by. Likewise in China I could always find someone who spoke English (the older generation not so much, but the younger generation all spoke enough for communication). And in Korea people were almost lining up to help me, eager to show off their English skills.

Nurses have to read and write report logs about patients and what happened during their shift, as well as instructions for special cases. In short everyday Japanese and not medical acronyms.

Everyday Japanese that could be written in hiragana, doesn't require N1 level of proficiency and doesn't require them to re-learn the medical Japanese anatomical terms, names of nerves, and all the other very specialised Japanese vocabulary that they need to pass the nursing examination and will probably never use again.

You seem to have lost sight of the issue under discussion here. Should nurses be required to pass the medical portion of the examination in Japanese when it doesn't relate to what they'll be doing on a daily basis? No.

Should they be required to pass the JLPT N1 when actually a narrower and more specific job-related Japanese course covering stuff like, "How to speak to and understand Showa Era Japanese", "How to speak and understand dialect", and "How to take a case history in Japanese" would be far more appropriate. Do you know which of these topics the N1 covers... precisely none of the above.

And this is the essence of my argument. The JLPT isn't specific enough, and the medical terminology they learn is too specific and not useful to what the duties they'll be performing on a normal day. They need a special course and special examination linked to the practical aspects of the job.

To put this simply, would you trust a Japanese doctor who had a TOEIC score of 900 to treat you? No, because while he might be perfectly well equipped to discuss business or the news he would have no clue about half of what you were saying because the words, "stomach" and "ache" aren't even in the top 1000 words used in the TOEIC test. That's what using the JLPT to certify nurses is like, it is irrelevant.

Would be nice if you replied to my whole post instead of picking and choosing.

There, I replied to your whole post. Happy now? I doubt it.

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Should nurses be required to pass the medical portion of the examination in Japanese when it doesn't relate to what they'll be doing on a daily basis?

First, It does relate. It is a test about exactly what they will do in the hospital and it is in the language they will be doing it in, just like the Japanese that take the same test.

Should they be required to pass the JLPT N1

? Why do you keep going on about a test no one else is talking about? We are talking about the National Nursing Examination. You are completely wrong about this from many angles and perspectives.

It is unreaonable to expect, hospitals, nurses, doctors and especially patients to settle for people who cannot carry about their jobs in the way that they should and that cannot understand the nurses, doctors and patients around them as they should.

The JLPT isn't specific enough, and the medical terminology they learn is too specific and not useful to what the duties they'll be performing on a normal day. They need a special course and special examination linked to the practical aspects of the job.

I am sorry, but you clearly have no clue as to what you are talking about. The exam everyone, but you it seems, is talking about is the national exam in Japanese. It is not your foreigner 'Look I can speak some Japanese' Test.

The test that the candidates are failing is the National Nursing Test or the National Care Giver Test in Japanese, not the JLPT.

That's what using the JLPT to certify nurses is like, it is irrelevant.

Yup, it sure is irrelevant. That is why they use the national examinations in Japanese. Perhaps you should consider actually visiting a hospital in Japan or speaking with some actual medical professionals in Japan, because your performance in this conversation suggest you have never done and are getting close ot suggesting you do not even live in Japan.

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Hospitals and doctors office do use computers and software for many items such as log in. Meed to learn Japanese language because nrses have to log in by difficukt Japanese language? @It;s Me: just because you have difficulty in learning Japanese language will not stop Japanese medical facilities throw away their software installed computer/

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toshiko,

live in USA. I have to have annual medical test.

You take the test in English, yes?

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@slumdogFEB. 27, 2015 - 12:19AM JST toshiko, live in USA. I have to have annual medical test. You take the test in English, yes?

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No, One of my daughters assist me and if I have to talk, I whisper to her in my English and she talks in her Calif English.

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It's good you have an 'interpreter'.

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@slumdog: Mydaughter is not an interpreter. She is just re-says my English into her Calif English. She has different kind of business that enable her to bring me to anywhere anytime.

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toshiko,

I was half-joking, but what your daughter is doing is what an interpreter does. More importantly, it shows that you understand what many of us our saying. That is that, first and foremost, medicine is performed in the local language of the country.

Frungy is completely incorrect here in suggesting that good, precise and clear communication is not important for nurses. In a country such as Japan, which has a rather large suicide rate and where the medical staff around them are the only source of communication for the elderly, that last thing...I repeat, the last thing we need is people around who cannot communicate professionally in the local language. It is a disaster waiting to happen.

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@slumdog; She has one interpreter (Chinese) in her office and when she goes to China, she brings her. English to Chinese and Chinese to English, not like English to English like I do Over here, pharamacists are usually immigrated people. Nurses, and new kind of body x ray techbitians are Asian immigrants. If medical stuffs are in shortage Kapan can give more time to Asian people. If they live in a integrated area, their Japanese language skill will become better.

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Over here, pharamacists are usually immigrated people. Nurses, and new kind of body x ray techbitians are Asian immigrants.

Yes, and they take the same licensing tests in English that those originally in the US do. It is and should continue to be the same here in Japan, too.

Japan is requiring licensing in the local language, which is the standard practice in countries all over the world.

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