Only Japanese-speaking nurses

Itoshima, Fukuoka

Regarding the Jan. 31 article “Foreigners’ poor test grades force rethink on nurse tests“: Our society is aging fast and we need to improve nursing care, especially for more and more elderly people. So, hiring professional nurses from abroad is a very good way to increase the supply and release pressure on the system.

Reading now that almost no one passed the Japanese-language test and hearing Sachie Shirai, spokeswoman for Bima Cooperation for Overseas Nurses and Care Workers, say “The only thing they lack is Japanese proficiency — not technical knowledge” makes me wonder if I’m hearing right. Does she think the test should be prepared in Indonesian or English so that more will pass?

Excuse me for being a bit conservative on this. I speak four languages fluently, but as a patient, I would want a nurse who is fluent in reading, speaking and writing Japanese. Only candidate nurses who fulfill these requirements should be offered a job. It goes without saying that they must be “good nurses,” as no patient in Japan would expect otherwise.

How am I supposed to communicate with my nurse if she doesn’t speak Japanese? How can I be sure that she’s giving me the proper treatment if she can’t read all the kanji?

I hope the ministry will never make the test in Indonesian or English, or any other language except Japanese. If the nurses are fluent in Japanese and have perfect education/training, then I’m very happy to be treated by them.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

franz pichler