TOKYO - A total of 29 applicants from the Philippines and Indonesia have passed an annual national examination to qualify to work as nurses in Japan, the health ministry said Tuesday.
They accounted for 10.4 percent of 280 applicants from the two Southeast Asian countries, a slightly higher pass rate than 9.6 percent in the previous year.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has made it easier for foreign applicants to pass by allowing them to spend more time than Japanese applicants to complete the exam and transliterating kanji characters with hiragana syllabary.
But 30 percent of the total foreign applicants came to Japan only last year and failed to study enough to pass, a ministry official said.
The pass rate for all applicants including Japanese came to 89.8 percent. The ministry conducted an additional exam due to heavy snowfall in February and will announce its results later this month. The overall number of successful applicants may increase then.
Japan has allowed Filipino and Indonesian nationals to work as nurses and care workers under its bilateral free trade agreements with the two Southeast Asian nations.