• Kyodo

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Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, may visit Japan as part of a trip that will also take him to Singapore and China, senior Indonesian officials and a diplomatic source said over the weekend.

No final decision has been made, but it may take place by the end of this month, they said on condition of anonymity.

One of the officials said that if Jokowi visits Japan, Indonesian and Japanese officials would review the bilateral economic partnership agreement that was signed seven years ago in Tokyo.

“We will review which (elements) in the (EPA) should be maintained and which should be changed,” the official said, adding that some parts of the agreement have not beneficial for Indonesia, particularly in capacity building and technology transfers.

The official cited as an example the case of Indonesian nurses and caregivers working in Japan.

“It’s more to provide jobs to the nurses than to transfer their knowledge from Japan to Indonesia,” the official said. “We want the nurses, actually, to ‘steal’ the knowledge and share it to nursing schools in Indonesia, so in the future we will be able to send skilled workers to foreign countries, not export the unskilled ones.”

Under the bilateral deal, hundreds of Indonesian nurses and caregivers have been sent to work in Japan. Their pass rate for qualification exams, however, has been very low due to the language barrier. Most have returned to Indonesia after failing to pass the tests in the required period of time.

Jokowi would also hand an invitation to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to attend the 60th commemoration of the Asia-Africa Conference, a meeting of Asian and African states that led to the birth of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement, in the West Java town of Bandung next month.

The government officials said Jokowi will likely visit Singapore before going to Japan, and China afterward.

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