Philippine Ambassador to Japan Domingo Siazon recently made a pitch for the Senate ratification of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), saying that Japan ‘s aging population represents a large labor market for local nurses and caregivers. But according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation, stringent requirements stated in JPEPA disprove this claim.
According to the agreement, persons who engage in supplying services as nurses or certified caregivers need to fulfil strict requirements before they are allowed entry to Japan , such as obliging them to be proficient in both written and spoken Japanese so that they can take the series of tests written in Japanese.
Even assuming that Japan lifts its entry quota, the number of nurses and caregivers able to surmount the considerable language, technical and cultural barriers to working in Japan may total a few thousand at best.
Consenting to a patently unfair agreement like the JPEPA further highlights the Arroyo administration’s lack of interest in developing the domestic economy and in generating sufficient employment. It demonstrates how the supposed stop-gap measure of sending Filipinos abroad to work has become the cornerstone of the government’s development strategy.