Attitude toward foreign nurses

The March 26 Kyodo article “Only 30 foreigners pass nursing exam despite extra help” reminds me of a terrible experience.

When my mother, who had developed dementia, was still alive, I hired a nurse to take care of her from a daycare center that was operated by a private company. When the nurse came to our house, I was surprised that the nurse looked so old that she herself needed to be taken care of by somebody.

Later I learned that the supply of caretakers and nurses for the elderly is so far short of demand in Japan that companies have no choice except to hire, in some cases, people who are older than those they are supposed to take care of.

Indeed, the workforce shortages in daycare centers and hospitals are much talked about these days, but the actual situation at present has gone far beyond what most of us have imagined.

The March 26 article suggests that the health ministry is reluctant to accept foreign nurses and that it accepted the recent trainees only to fulfill diplomatic agreements with the Philippines and Indonesia, perhaps with the intention of dumping them later.

I view the ministry’s attitude as uncouth and arrogant, and believe that its behavior depicts the xenophobic nature of the Japanese government and some citizens.

We should expect workforce shortages in other industries — not just in hospitals and daycare centers — to grow exponentially more serious because of our aging society. It’s reason for the central government to rectify its old-fashioned way of thinking.

shuichi john watanabe

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.