128 foreigners pass care worker test

Kyodo

A total of 128 Indonesian and Filipino applicants have passed an examination qualifying them to work as care workers in Japan, the health ministry announced.

The number of successful applicants jumped 3.5-fold from 36 in the first examination the previous year, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said Thursday.

Of the total, 86 were from Indonesia and the remainder from the Philippines. The increase is attributable to a significant rise in the number of applicants, from 95 in 2011 to 322 in the current fiscal year, which ends this month.

But the pass rate came to only 39.8 percent, up from 37.9 percent the previous year, and was far lower than the overall pass rate of 64.4 percent, the ministry said.

The ministry has introduced steps to make it easier for foreign applicants to pass by allowing them more time than their Japanese counterparts to complete the examination and by including furigana readings for kanji.