Japan’s foreign workers face a new post-COVID landscape

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Once a week in a classroom with a view of the Tokyo Skytree, Filipino nurses study in a relaxed atmosphere. In an initiative led by the voluntary organization Abott Kamai, students learn about nursing from healthcare facility workers, study Japanese with language teaching specialists, and engage in a convivial conversation with retirees.

But this study group is responding to an urgent need: as part of the social worker crisis felt by institutions across Japan – a crisis caused by Japan’s declining population, with young workers avoiding blue-collar jobs and the coronavirus pandemic – thousands of Filipino workers struggle to pass the Japanese national exam. nursing certificate. Certification comes with a longer-term stable visa and a higher salary. The price is hard, often thankless work in the midst of a deadly, seemingly endless pandemic.

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