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Foreign nurses in Japan decry tough pass-or-go-home exams

TOKYO—Japan allows hundreds of Southeast Asian nurses to work on short-term contracts, but the health-care workers say the exams they must pass for the right to stay longer are so tough that almost all flunk them.

Nurses and care-givers from Indonesia and the Philippines are now asking their host country to relax the requirements that force them to quickly learn thousands of Japanese characters and medical terms on top of their work duties.

“It’s really a challenge for us to pass the exam, with only one chance, after working full-time for three years,” Indonesian nurse Wahyudin, 28, who uses only one name, said in Japanese at a Tokyo press conference on Tuesday.

“I think the current exam is more a test of the Japanese language, rather than a test of the qualifications of the caregiver,” said Wahyudin, who said he was speaking for scores of fellow foreign nurses in Japan.

In recent years hundreds of nurses from the Philippines and Indonesia have been allowed to enter rapidly-graying Japan, with its usually strict immigration controls, to fill a labor shortage of health care workers.

Those who hope to stay longer than three years in the case of nurses, and four years in the case of caregivers, need to pass the exams — a feat achieved by only three out of 254 applicants who sat the test this year.

Read the rest of the story at inquirer.net

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