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JPEPA to take effect December 11

Kyodo News | 11/12/2008

JPEPA to take effect December 11


MANILA — Japan and the Philippines exchanged diplomatic notes Friday in Manila to implement a free trade agreement (FTA) signed between the two sides in 2006, setting December 11 as the date it will enter into force.

The exchange of notes took place between Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese Ambassador Makoto Katsura, according to a Japanese government announcement.

Besides setting Dec. 11 as the date for implementation of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), the two sides also informed each other in the notes that all necessary legal procedures have been completed.

Besides providing a framework for liberalization of trade and investment between the two countries, the pact will allow Filipino nurses and caregivers to work in Japan.

The pact also details possible cooperative programs, including training courses for the regulation of and supervision of financial institutions, trade and investment cooperation, cooperation in the field of small and medium enterprises, technical cooperation in the field of science and communications technology and promotion of tourism.

The agreement was signed in September 2006 between Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, but it took the Philippine Senate nearly two years to ratify it after some senators called for renegotiation on grounds it was ’’riddled with constitutional defects.’’

Japan’s Diet ratified it last year, while the Philippine Senate, which is controlled by Arroyo’s foes, followed suit last Oct. 9, ending an uphill battle for the president.

The deal with the Philippines is Japan’s ninth FTA following bilateral agreements with Singapore, Mexico, Malaysia, Chile, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei as well as a comprehensive FTA with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Under the economic partnership agreement with the Philippines, Filipino nurses and caregivers are expected to arrive in Japan next April to June to undergo language training for half a year before going to work at hospitals and nursing care facilities across Japan, Japanese health ministry officials said last week.

They will try to acquire Japanese qualifications in three to four years from their arrival in Japan, the officials said.

The candidates, however, will return home if they fail to win Japanese qualifications.

Separately, some caregiver candidates will try to win qualifications by receiving training for care workers at learning institutions in Japan, according to the officials.

The candidates plan to arrive in Japan next October before entering training schools in April 2010.

 source: ABS-CBN