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Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said she met with six nurses and five caregivers who came to Japan under the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa) , and they asked for help because the board exams were in Japanese and “were really very difficult.

“They asked for assistance in their review and suggested that we negotiate (with the Japanese) to find ways to make the exams easier. They said the exams was really very difficult,” Baldoz said in an interview.

“They said it was like studying again, but this time using the Japanese language,” she added.

According to the labor chief, there was already an initiative to translate the most recent Japanese board exams into English so that this could serve as a reviewer for the Filipino nurses.

“They really need this because they find the exams difficult since it’s in Japanese. They can’t understand it. You have to study Japanese for a long time to be adept at using it,” she said.

Baldoz said  the government would raise the issue when Japan, and the Philippines review the Jpepa next month.

“That’s one area we will take up in January when we have the negotiations in Manila. We will be looking into areas for improvement, and that is one of the things we will check,” Baldoz said.

The Philippine embassy here will also send some communication, and I will have all of this reviewed,” she added.

Since May 2011 after nearly five years Jpepa  signed and three years after it was ratified by the Philippine Senate—only two Filipino nurses have passed the licensure exam for nursing while 229 caregivers have been allowed to work. Those who fail nurses are sent back to the Philippines.

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