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The government plans to let Indonesian nurses and caregivers stay in Japan another year to give them an extra chance to take the annual nursing qualification exam, sources said Wednesday.

Indonesian and Filipino nurses and caretakers who have come to Japan under economic partnership agreements have scored low on the qualification exams.

Under the bilateral pacts, they have three years after arrival to pass the qualifying exam or be sent back to their countries.

For those who came to Japan in 2008, the upcoming test in February would have been their last chance, but they will now be allowed to stay until next year so those who want to can try again in February 2012.

More than 1,000 nurses and caregivers have come from Indonesia and the Philippines since 2008 with the aim of earning qualification to work in Japan. So far, only two Indonesians and one Filipino have passed the nursing exam.

There had been calls from the nurses and caretakers as well as from facilities that have received them for training to extend the period of stay because insufficient language and other training have hampered their chances of passing the test.

Starting with this year’s exam, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has decided to modify the Japanese expressions in the questions to make them easier for foreigners to understand.

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