THE Philippines starts deploying the first 200 nurses and 300 caregivers to Japan from April to June to train for work there following the signing of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.
Around $6.9 billion worth of Philippine products now also enjoy duty-free status in Japan as a result of the treaty.
“This is the express lane for trade and investment… that is the inherent nature of the agreement,” Trade Undersecretary Thomas Aquino said.
“With the [treaty] in place, we have an edge over our competitors in the region in terms of selling our goods to Japan.”
Under the treaty, 1,000 nurses and caregivers will be trained over the next two years to make them eligible to work there. The numbers could have been bigger, but Tokyo’s facilities could accommodate only 500 a year, Aquino said.
The treaty says Filipino nurses and caregivers must first pass certification exams in Nihongo before they could be accepted. Nursing applicants must also be licensed in the Philippines and a three-year work experience.
Japan is badly in need of nurses and caregivers as a result of its aging population. Estimates indicate there are now about 36 million old Japanese or 30 percent of Japan’s 120-million population.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry says 150,000 Filipino workers would also benefit from the treaty, and mainly because of the job opportunities it will create as a result of the zero tariff on selected Philippine products.
“We in the business sector can now focus our energies on working towards enhancing our competitiveness with our Asean neighbors who have secured their respective bilateral and economic partnership agreements with Japan,” said special envoy Donald Dee. Elaine Ramos Alanguilan
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