By Veronica Uy
First Posted 18:47:00 01/28/2009
Filed Under: Overseas Employment, Unemployment, Nursing matters
MANILA, Philippines—Although in recession, Japan will still hire Filipino nurses and caregivers as provided under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Makato Katsura said Wednesday.
"We need nurses and caregivers in Japan. The demand for good nurses and caregivers remains unchanged," Katsura said in an interview shortly after he signed an accord with the United Nations' World Food Programme granting P455 million in grant for those displaced by the fighting in Mindanao.
While admitting that Japan would be affected by the global financial crisis, he said it would not result in a massive layoff of overseas Filipino workers.
"Japan's growth this year will be negative. But I don't think this will directly affect your Filipino workers in Japan," he said.
Katsura said JPEPA, which entered into force early December 2008, opens Japan -- the world’s second largest economy -- to 1,000 Filipino caregivers and nurses in two years.
In fact, he said, the recruitment of Filipino nurses and caregivers has begun, as the embassy gets requests for them from hospitals and caregiving centers in Japan.
"We are now in the process of matching the demand and supply," he said.
Under the treaty, 200 nurses and 300 caregivers will be received annually. The first batch is set to arrive in Japan between April and June this year to take language training course for half a year before being assigned to hospitals and nursing care facilities.
At the same time, Japanese embassy officials also said tariffs on Philippine exports have already been reduced since the bilateral agreement took effect.
The JPEPA was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi on September 2006 at the sidelines of 6th Asia-Europe Meeting in Helsinki, Finland.
Soon after, Japan ratified it. After much debate over its constitutionality and a provision on trade in trash, the Philippine Senate ratified the treaty last year.
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