• Kyodo News

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The national qualification examination for nurses was held Sunday at around a dozen venues across Japan, this time with medical terms translated into English to improve the pass rate for foreigners.

A total of 54,756 people applied to take this year’s exam, including 399 from the Philippines and Indonesia who are here to become nurses under bilateral free-trade agreements with Japan.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry decided to translate the names of diseases and other medical terms into English this year to rephrase difficult expressions that have been making the test too difficult for foreigners.

Only three applicants — a Filipino and two Indonesians — passed the qualification exam for nurses last February, making them the first successful applicants under the program.

The language barrier has been cited as a major stumbling block for foreigners taking the test.

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