Panel advises keeping nursing test in Japanese

Kyodo

A health ministry panel is urging the government to keep holding the national nursing test for foreign examinees in Japanese, despite strong calls to let them take it in their mother tongues.

At a meeting last week, the panel also opposed the idea of introducing a foreign-language nursing exam in combination with a Japanese-language aptitude test for foreign applicants seeking nursing licenses.

Amid a nationwide nurse shortage, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry will use the report to pick a specific plan for the nurse test to be held this month.

The pass rate for foreign nurse candidates is pathetic at just 4 percent. This includes those undergoing preparatory training in Japan under bilateral economic partnership agreements.

The panel concluded that the present system should be retained as nurses must be able to accurately understand doctors when updating medical records and reading them.

The decision is likely to discourage foreign nurse candidates and the Japanese medical facilities training them.