Japan has an ever-worsening shortage of nurses on its hands, and a new article in the Washington Post states that strict Japanese rules regarding the immigration of foreign nurses “may threaten Japan’s future.” The article focuses on the difficulties facing Filipino nurses who have come to Japan under a bilateral economic agreement:
But the economic partnership program that brought Paulino and hundreds of other nurses and caretakers to Japan has a flaw. Indonesian and Filipino workers who come to care for a vast and growing elderly population cannot stay for good without passing a certification test. And that test’s reliance on high-level Japanese — whose characters these nurses cram to memorize — has turned the test into a de facto language exam.
Ninety percent of Japanese nurses pass the test. This year, three of 254 immigrants passed it. The year before, none of 82 passed.
For immigrant advocates, a pass-or-go-home test with a success rate of less than 1 percent creates a wide target for criticism — especially at a time when Japan’s demographics are increasing the need for skilled foreign labor.
For many officials in the government and the medical industry, however, difficulties with the program point to a larger dilemma confronting a country whose complex language and resistance to foreigners make it particularly tough to penetrate.
There has been talk of easing the exams for the foreign nurses, possibly by simplifying the Japanese used in test questions or changing the examination language to English. Those may seem like obvious solutions, but they leave in place several problems:
- Nurses will still have to talk with Japanese doctors and nurses using the Japanese language, and knowledge of medical terminology is probably useful.
- Nurses who are illiterate in Japanese might not be able to understand written instructions for medical equipment or medicine. They might not even be able to read medicine labels. As the Washington Post article notes, they also cannot record information on Japanese forms.
- They will have to use Japanese to communicate with patients. Many of the patients will be elderly, and in areas outside of Tokyo they will likely speak non-standard dialects of Japanese that are not found in Japanese language textbooks.
Even if the tests are made easier and some of the nurses pass and are allowed to remain in Japan, the language barrier will be a problem. As long as communication problems persist, the foreign nurses will likely be treated as second-class nurses who are not given the same tasks and responsibilities as nurses with native Japanese ability. Some of the immigrant nurses have years of experience back in their countries of origin, and such a situation would probably make them feel like their talents were being wasted. Changing the nurse exam system might help more nurses pass the test and get permission to stay in Japan, but the language barrier will make it hard for them to receive the treatment they are probably expecting.
Published July 31, 2010
News , Random
On July 28th, Panasonic detailed the “world’s first 3D consumer camcorder[s],” the HDC-TM750 and HDC-TM650, in a series of press releases. The two products are fully functioning standard HD video cameras aimed at normal consumers in Japan, however consumers will be able to buy an attachable 3D conversion lens, the VW-CLT1.
The camera and lens set will cost about $2,000. The Asahi TV news video clip states that you will need to buy a 3D television set if you want to view the fancy 3D images that the camcorder can record.
Published July 27, 2010
Okay!! we are going back to history guys…iWitness is a t.v documentary show in the Philippines, and I’m really sorry that this 4 part video doesn’t have subs…So if you can understand tagalog, that will be AWESOME..if not..sorry guys…but ill look through if I can find the video with subs…But for now, here is the summary of the video documentary:
Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II. But the war continued for another 29 years in the mind of Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese intelligence officer assigned to Lubang Island off Mindoro . When he finally emerged from the jungle in 1974 and returned to Japan , he was celebrated as a devoted soldier.
Howie Severino and his I-Witness team retrace some of Onoda’s steps in the rugged forest of Lubang and imagine his life in the wild. But they also discover some ugly truths about what he did to survive and persist in his mission.
When the Allied Forces returned to Lubang Island in 1945, the Japanese military had no choice but to retreat. Hoping for a Japanese counterattack, Onoda and his men did everything to survive in the jungle and prepared themselves to fight till the end. Surrender was not an option.
For many years since World War II, Lt. Hiroo Onoda and his three Japanese soldiers lived off the resources of the jungle and of the residents of Lubang Island — armed with warrior instincts of survival, force and intimidation. For 29 years, going to the jungle was no easy task for the residents because somewhere in that expanse was Lt. Onoda, the lone surviving Japanese guerrilla who continued to carryout his military orders. For 29 years, some Filipino lives were lost for a war that no longer existed.
Howie Severino and outdoorsman David Tajan enter the jungles of Lubang Island to retrace the trails of Lt. Onoda. How did this environment define the hero that Lt. Onoda now is? And where do the casualties of war, the Lubang residents, fit in a war that is only imagined?
Published July 27, 2010
Kuonji temple in Yamanashi prefecture has a bell so large that it requires monks to use a special full-body technique to produce the necessary power to create a proper ringing sound:
This is how it’s done
Published July 20, 2010
It started airing on July 17.
So if you guys don’t remember what Cat Shit One is…Heres the trailer again so you dont have to look around ^-^
Published July 13, 2010
it feels like its been forever since I posted my last blog…sorry for all the delays AGAIN!!!
I’ve been moving from condo to condo, dorm to dorm..I just cant get the right spot…sorry for all the waiting and all these delays..SOON guys, I Promise
Published July 1, 2010
Nishi-ku office of the Osaka city government experienced a sudden increase in the number of Chinese residents applying for welfare in the last month. It turns out most of them were from a group of 48 people who have something in common:
- All of them had recently immigrated to Japan.
- All of them came from Fujian province in China.
- All of them were granted permission to immigrate to Japan so they could care for elderly relatives in Osaka.
- They all seem to be caring for the same relatives: a pair of Chinese-born women in their seventies who came to Japan last year and recently naturalized.
Osaka city welfare officials had no good reason to turn down most of them, and 32 are already receiving welfare payments.
Most of the applicants had the same Osaka-based real estate company help them with their applications. An investigation is underway to determine whether or not some sort of scam is taking place.
Update: The Mainichi has finally come out with its late afternoon online English edition, which has an article about this case. It notes that the elderly sisters who naturalized had been put on the fast track to citizenship because they were apparently Japanese who had been orphaned and left behind in China after the war. The article also mentions how foreigners can receive welfare:
Under Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare rules, foreign residents with valid visas are eligible for welfare assistance. The 48 Chinese nationals visited the application window for welfare protection an average of eight days after receiving their visas. Some things reportedly struck city employees as odd, such as the visiting applicants being accompanied by the same particular real-estate agent. If the applications are found to have been improper, the city plans to cut off assistance.