A number Filipino nurses and caregivers who seized the opportunity to train in Japan to work there have ended up returning to the Philippines, including some who passed the tough licensing exam.

"The journey to becoming a nurse in Japan was indeed a mission impossible. . . . We were very tired physically, mentally and emotionally while studying to pass the board exam and working at the same time. All of us were pushed to study even on our rest day," a Filipino nurse who quit only a year after his deployment in 2011 said recently.

The 33-year-old nurse, who requested anonymity so he could freely express his views, is among more than 1,200 Filipino nurses and caregivers who were accepted by Japan starting in 2009 under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement.