AFTER easing its visa requirements for Filipinos last year, Japan will also open its doors to Filipino domestic workers soon, according to Japanese Press Secretary Yasuhisa Kawamura, spokesperson of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Kawamura said Japan already accepts a limited number of foreign nurses and caregivers and Filipino domestic workers will initially be accepted in three prefectures, including Osaka and Kanagawa, which is part of the Greater Tokyo area.
“Japan’s reception of the Filipino household workers to Japanese economic special zones... we requested, on the side of the Philippines, that they also prepare the necessary systems,” Kawamura said.
Kawamura said the acceptance of more OFWs was one of the matters taken up during the bilateral talks between Abe and President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday.
During the talks, Japan also affirmed its commitment to transfer military materiel to the Philippines as part of the international community’s demand for freedom of navigation in disputed areas of the South China Sea.
“We’d like to issue a strong message at the upcoming East Asia Summit meeting in order to preserve an open and free and peaceful ocean,” Kawamura said.
Abe also announced Tokyo’s pledge of P93 billion in official development assistance loans for the construction of a railway from Manila to Malolos, Bulacan which is expected to be completed in 2021.
Japan has also announced it will continue assisting Mindanao through various economic activities, which will be implemented ahead of the state visit to the Philippines of Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, the first Japanese monarch to ever visit the country.
Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment welcomed Kawamura’s announcement that it will soon open its doors to more Filipino workers.
Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz earlier said the Philippine government is negotiating with Japanese authorities to make it easier for Filipino nurses to pass Japan’s licensure examination and provide more labor opportunities in Japanese hospitals.
“We welcome the improving results of the licensure examination of Filipino nurses in Japan, but we continue to negotiate to make the language test easier so more of our nurses will pass and be able to work there,” Baldoz said.
Japan is already home to more than 200,000 overseas Filipino workers who work mostly as nurses and caregivers as well as the electronic industry.
Baldoz said OFWs in Japan have remitted more than $500 million in four years from 2010 and 2014.
In October last year, Japan started to substantially relax its visa requirements for nationals from the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam in a bid to increase its tourist arrivals and improve its people-to-people exchanges.
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