The free-trade agreement clinched with the Philippines on Saturday will test whether Japan is serious about opening its labor market, a change that would trade homogeneity for a more youthful workforce.

The FTA is Japan's first that includes provisions on the movement of labor. It is widely believed that hundreds of Filipino nurses, caregivers and nursing-care trainees will enter Japan in the initial stages of the agreement.

Other countries seeking free-trade pacts with Japan such as Thailand and Indonesia also want their workers -- cooks, masseurs and hotel staff, to name a few -- to have the freedom to work in Japan.