by Megumi Takase
In recent years, Japan has accepted female migrants from Asian countries to work as care workers. They are expected to support Japan’s aging society. By the way, in “International Sociology” classes, we learned the bad situations of female migrants from the Philippines in Japan. In this paper, I will consider what problems female migrants from Asian countries will have by working as care workers and what the Japanese government should do for them.
First, I will discuss the working conditions. The wages of care workers are low in Japan. The research of Nippon Careservice Craft Union shows that care workers who earn from one hundred and fifty thousand yen to one hundred and seventeen thousand yen account for the most percentage of all care workers. Moreover, if they don’t get nursing certifications, they earn only half of the regular pay. Without serious efforts to save their money, most of their income would go to their cost of living in Japan and they wouldn’t be able to send money to their family in their home countries. In addition, according to Nippon Careservice Craft Union, it tends to be difficult for care workers to take a paid vacation. It will be hard for care workers from Asian countries to go back to their home. It will make both them and their family feel lonely.
Second, there is the problem of language. Most migrants from Asian countries who work as care workers come to Japan for the first time. Thus, they should study Japanese while working, but it will be hard because working as a care worker is also hard. They will have difficulty in getting their nursing certifications in Japan because the test for it is held in Japanese. The Japanese law provides that if care workers from Asian countries can’t pass the test within four years from the day when they came to Japan, they should go back to their home countries even though they have been trained in Japan for more than three years.
Why do female migrants from Asian countries who work as care workers receive such bad treatment? I think it is because of the view that nursing is a part of domestic work of a housewife in Japan, and the indifference of the Japanese government toward human rights of immigrants. In Japan, it is common for housewives to take care of their old parents. Housewives are supposed to do it without being paid because they love their parents. Because nursing is still regarded as “labor of love” which housewives should do, I think that care workers are suffering the bad working conditions.
Furthermore, because of the bad working conditions, more and more Japanese care workers quit the job. Thus, I think that the Japanese government decided to accept Asian people merely because it was fascinated with their cheap wages. It seems to me that the Japanese government takes advantage of immigrants as much as it can. The Japanese government should change its mind toward nursing and improve the working conditions of care workers. In addition, it should respect immigrants’ human rights and make migrants friendly working environments.
“Nikkei Business online,” http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/topics/20100326/213634/?P=1 (viewed: 2013/11/15)
Shimada, M.(2009). Problems Related to Incoming Nurses and Care Workers from Indonesia : Focusing on the Workers. Ryukoku Journal of Economic Studies 49(1), 255-264.
“NHK news commentators bureau,” http://www.nhk.or.jp/kaisetsu-blog/100/115321.html (viewed: 2013/11/15)
- Accepting immigrants in Japan (japansociology.com)
- Should the Japanese Government Institute an Education System for Immigrants? (japansociology.com)
- Caring for the elderly: The embodied labour of migrant care workers in Singapore (brendayeoh.wordpress.com)