Job shortage hits Indonesia nurses

Kyodo News

Japan may be unable to accept as many Indonesian nurses and caregivers this fiscal year as agreed under a bilateral agreement because of a shortage of jobs for them at Japanese hospitals and care facilities, sources said.

Under the economic partnership agreement reached in 2007, Japan is to accept up to 792 Indonesians in fiscal 2009, which began this month — the second year of the EPA program. But the number of jobs offered so far by Japanese hospitals and care facilities totaled only 169 as of April 1, they said Thursday.

The limited number of job offers can apparently be attributed to the burden on facilities of supporting the Indonesian workers, including Japanese language education, and Japan’s acceptance of similar workers from the Philippines starting from this fiscal year.

The Japan International Corporation of Welfare Services, in charge of overseeing the Indonesian workers, has extended the deadline for job offers from Japanese facilities to April 20 from April 3 as planned earlier.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry plans to review the number of Indonesian workers to be accepted by Japan next fiscal year and after with the Indonesian government after monitoring how job offers pan out for this fiscal year.

Under the EPA program, Japan is expected to accept up to 400 nurses and up to 600 caregivers over two years starting from fiscal 2008.

A total of 208 Indonesian workers came in the first year of the program. Around 1,000 nurses and caregivers in Indonesia have registered as applicants to work in Japan.