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Vietnam nurse trainee program begins

Update: June, 12/2014 - 15:35
Vietnamese nursing and caregiving candidates attend a ceremony to mark the start of their training program in Chiba on Monday. — Photo The Japan News

By Kumiko Ono

A total of 138 Vietnamese candidates began Japanese-language studies Monday as part of a program to allow them to work in Japan as nurses or caregivers.

The 21 nursing candidates and 117 caregiving candidates from Vietnam are the first group of candidates to come to Japan on the basis of the Japan-Vietnam economic partnership program. They will undergo about two months of Japanese-language classes focusing on technical terms and necessary conversation skills for the jobs, as well as introductory training for nurses and caregivers.

On Monday, a ceremony to mark the start of the training program was held at the Makuhari International Training Center in Chiba, attended by the Vietnamese candidates, an official from the Foreign Ministry, and officials from hospitals and nursing care facilities, among others.

"I believe the program will contribute to the relationship between Japan and Vietnam," said Dinh Thi Diu Hien, representing the Vietnamese contingent.

"I hope to work in Japan as a caregiver for a long period of time," said Ho Thi Hanh Nguyen, 23. "In Vietnam, nursing care is still underdeveloped, so I hope to take back what I learn in Japan to Vietnam and contribute to spreading the vocation in my country in the future."

The candidates either have certifications for nursing in Vietnam or have finished three-year or four-year nursing courses before coming to Japan. Prior to their arrival, they also took one-year Japanese-language courses in their country.

Japan started accepting nursing and caregiving candidates from Indonesia in 2008 and from the Philippines in 2009 based on respective economic partnership programs. However, there has been criticism over the high Japanese-language barriers for such candidates. For example, the kanji characters and the technical Japanese terms used in the exams are said to be considerable hurdles for foreign applicants. The pass rate of national exams for nurses among Indonesian and Filipino candidates has stood at around 10 percent, a low figure compared with 90 percent among all applicants.

With such criticism in mind, the Japanese government provided preliminary Japanese-language classes for the Vietnamese candidates and only those who had acquired sufficient skill to understand everyday conversation were allowed to come to Japan as candidates.

After taking the training program, the Vietnamese will start working at hospitals or nursing care facilities nationwide in August as trainees, while aiming to obtain certification as nurses or caregivers in Japan. Under the agreement, nursing candidates are allowed to stay in Japan for up to three years and caregiving candidates have up to four years to pass the respective national exams. If they can pass the tests, they will be able to work in Japan without a time limit.— The Japan News/ANN

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