logo logo

RP nurses given options to work in Japan as JPEPA takes effect on December 11

Balita, Philippines

RP nurses given options to work in Japan as JPEPA takes effect on December 11

By Gloria Jane Baylon

12 November 2008

MANILA - The Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) will be in force from December 11 this year, with the swapping last Friday of a diplomatic note between Manila and Tokyo for its implementation.

The Japanese embassy in Manila announced that the free trade agreement (FTA) was signed by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Japanese Ambassador to Manila Makoto Katsura here.

As of press time, the Department of Foreign Affairs has no official announcement yet.

All legal procedures for the JPEPA have been completed, the Japanese announcement said.

The Philippines is the eight country with which Japan has signed an FTA, joining Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Thailand, Malaysia, Mexico and Chile. A separate comprehensive trade agreement had also been signed with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) itself.

The pact would pave the way for Filipino nurses and caregivers to get employment as health workers across Northeast Asia’s richest nation, known for its high number of aging population .

Between April and June, next year, the first batch of such professionals - initially on a six-year employment contract - are expected in Japan but they must first undergo training in Nihongo (Japanese language).

Should they fail to qualify and meet other stringent Japanese standards, they could be sent back, the JPEPA stipulates.

JPEPA was signed on September 9, 2006 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Helsinki (Finland) during the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) at the time.

Soon after, the Japanese lawmaking body, known as the Diet, approved the treaty in December 2006. The Philippine Senate delayed the early ratification of the pact due to what some of its members claimed are unconstitutional provisions in the agreement.

After more scrutiny and intense debate, JPEPA was eventually approved last September, this year.

The agreement aims to promote a freer flow of goods, persons, services and capital between the two countries, partnership in intellectual property, competition policy, improvement of business environment and bilateral cooperation.

The areas of cooperation are in the fields of human resources development, information and communications technology and small and medium enterprises, among others. (PNA)