What Happened to Prime Minister's Promise to Offer Africans' Employment?
You may recall, my recent piece, "Michiyo Tani, Director of Care Home" that raised an important issue: Lack of nurses & helpers for elderlies in Japan--the future work opportunity for foreigners? Evidently, the demand for medical and healthcare workers has increased due to declining birthrates and aging populations in Japan.
According to June 2nd, 2013 Japan Times Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development with a look back over the forum’s past 20 years promised ¥3.2 trillion in aid to African continent.
“Over the next five years, Japan will support African growth through public and private funds totaling ¥3.2 trillion, including official development assistance of around ¥1.4 trillion and other public and private resources of around ¥1.6 trillion,” Abe vowed at TICAD V. “We will also underwrite a maximum of ¥200 billion in trade insurance.”
The money will be used, the prime minister added, in areas that African nations judge the most urgent. These include further developing infrastructure, human resources, health, agriculture and education. In response to the increasing business advancement made by Japanese firms, he indicated that human resource training is the area that the fund should be used in order to train African workers whose abilities meet the Japanese standard. It is therefore, the fund will be used to cultivate the skills that match the labor market demand. In the Africa Business Education Initiative scheme, he announced, over five years, 1000 Africans are given opportunities to study in Japan as well as internships to work in Japanese firms. Some of the funds will be used for Japanese style health care systems and other money will go toward peace and security measures.
Incidentally, I called JICA Shikoku Official Development Assistance (ODA) organization to confirm employment opportunities for African populations to the Japanese work environment. The response form them was that it was not their power to decide on the employment of Africans and their job training. The decision belongs to the Labor Ministry in Tokyo. When I called the Labor Ministry in Tokyo, the person in charge answered that the admission into the country for employment of Africans is under the control of Immigration Bureau, because they make decisions on who is qualified to the entry to Japan and their employment.
Following, I called the inspector chief of the Immigration Bureau, who said “Foreigner had to get certificate of Authorization for employment by the companies located in their country with attestation of an economic partnership agreement (EPA) for a foreigner to enter Japan.
This is however usually given to those who can contribute to Japan with high qualification and educational backgrounds as diplomats, artists, and public servants. To my question, “what about health care workers, that are increasing in demand, with less available workers in Japan, he told me to contact with JITCO (Japan International Training Cooperation) that supplies skill acquisition training to foreigners.
The officer of JITCO answered that only Filipinos and Indonesians are permitted to work as nurses or helpers in Japan based on the economic partnership agreement (EPA) which promotes agreement between developing countries and Japan. With such agreement, the citizens of the developing countries are allowed to work as nurses or health care workers, and come to Japan to work for one year. Then they are assigned exams to fit with the Japanese standard. When I asked him about the opportunity Prime Minister Abe offered Africans for the posts in Japanese companies, he answered "Please contact JICA."
I am familiar with this phenomenon. It is called ‘tarai mawashi’—those in charge of the areas are tossing me around escaping from their role to answer my core question.
So how can Africans get jobs as nurses and helpers in Japan? JICA told me organization called JANIC or AJF (Africa Japan Forum) may allow me to speak to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. So I asked Mr. Saitoo at AJF, and he sent me an application to attend the conference between Foreign minister and NGOs on December 9th 2013.
When our NGO attends the conference, we will request the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to provide accessible employment opportunities for Africans as promised. If you are an African who wants the work opportunity, you are advised to send email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, contact or mobile, and the name of your organization with a title, ‘Voicing Employment for Africans.’
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