Japan eased the language ability requirements in its move to bring in foreign technical trainees in nursing care. Although the relaxed requirements have been lauded as a way to alleviate the chronic shortage of caregivers in Japan’s rapidly graying society, others warn of potential health risks caused by miscommunication.
It is the first time Japan has opened its door to foreign interns in a field in which they are expected of having basic communication skills.
The government’s official position is that the program will enable technical interns to learn nursing skills at Japanese care homes and use the experience in their home countries after they return.
But it is also clear that Japan is in desperate need of care workers to tend to the ballooning population of elderly people.
Japan has accepted technical interns from many Asian countries under the Technical Intern Training Program since 1993 in a number of fields, including construction, agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing and food processing.
Nursing care was added to the program when it was overhauled in November.
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