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Philippines: Huge' potential for workers in Japan

13 December 2013

The Philippine embassy in Japan sees huge potential for Filipino teachers and possibly domestic helpers in Japan. Philippine Ambassador to Japan Manuel Lopez said with a new law requiring Grade 5 and 6 Japanese students to learn English, Filipinos will have a big opportunity to gain employment here.

Aside from the usual entertainers whose number continue to dwindle each year due to strict requirements by Japanese authorities, Lopez said thousands of skilled workers in electronics and technical field are needed. These include engineers, IT experts and even skilled laborers like welders and construction workers.

But the catch here is that Filipino workers must learn Nihonggo, both oral and written, which is part of the stringent requirements of working in Japan. For instance, only 25 Filipino nurses were employed under the Japan Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) since it started in 2010. Lopez said the Philippines will probably appeal to the Japanese government to give some consideration or perhaps reassess the difficulty of the licensure examination. Trainee nurse earn an average JPY125,000 (USD 1,205) and a full-fledged nurse gets JPY 250,000 (USD 2,412) per month.

Lopez said Filipino nurses have good potential forworking in Japan since it already has an aging population. Aside from nurses, Lopez says it is possible that Japan will also eventually need caregivers and household helpers to take care of their aging population.

Philippine embassy Labor Attache Clifford Labad said the the main potential really is on household helpers. Right now, only diplomatic missions can employ household helps of their choice. According to Labad, the highest paid Filipino household help he knows in Tokyo earns JPY250,000 (USD 2,412). Based on estimates, around 70% of drivers in the diplomatic community are Filipinos.

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