Can bringing in foreign brain power be a solution?


Once again in May the Japanese media showed examples how local business is promoting international transfer of labor. For example Mitsui Chemical has set up an internship program for Indian top students. The goal is to bolster Mitsui Chemical’s name recognition in India by inviting postgraduate students, who are studying chemical-related subjects. These students get an opportunity to work at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo and at its Osaka plant. Up to six students will be offered this kind of internship lasting for about four weeks. Interestingly, the internship is not directly tied to employment after graduation. A similar program for Chinese and Singaporean students exists.
Then the Indonesian nurses and caregivers have been in the news for quite a while. For me disappointing is that while 89.5 percent of all Japanese exam-takers passed this year, the corresponding number for Indonesians and Filipinos was only 1.2 percent. Now since 2008 under a new bilateral economic partnership agreement, 570 Indonesians and 310 Filipinos have arrived in Japan. This February just two Indonesians and one Filipino, out of 254 applicants(!), passed the Japan’s nursing qualification exam in February. Understand me right I am very happy for these first two successful candidates to receive the right to work in this country, but will it make actually a difference?
To make the situation even more challenging, in response to the low test results compared to the high burdens on their employers, the number of accepting hospitals and welfare facilities in fiscal 2010 has dropped by one-third for Indonesians and by half for Filipinos. Furthermore leading solely confusion on my part, according to Japan Times the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry has denied that accepting foreign caregivers is part of efforts to resolve the manpower shortage in health care. Honestly I do not see then the connection with a survey conducted by the health ministry that about 60 percent of hospitals and about 50 percent of welfare facilities that have accepted Indonesian candidates said they offered them jobs hoping to improve staff levels.
Why is foreign brain power coming into Japan promoted, as long as it is done on such a marginal level?

Brought to you by Sibylle Ito (シビル伊藤)

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