Research Activities
Intercultural Communication Issues in Employing Filipino Carers in Japan Conducted
Workshop of Group 3
■Speaker :Yuichi Kuwata (Carry Up Inc.), Sachi Takahata (Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin Univ), Hisako Nakai (Osaka Univ. of Human Sciences), Yumiko Goto (Hagoromo Univ. of International Studies), Ma. Reinaruth D. Carlos (Ryukoku Univ)
■Place :Seiwa-kan, Omiya Campus, Ryukoku University
■Date :13:30〜17:00, Sunday, 1 February, 2009
■Number :090201
A Workshop entitled “Intercultural Communication Issues in Employing Filipino Carers in Japan” was conducted on February 1, 2009 at the Omiya Campus of Ryukoku Univeristy. The aim of this undertaking is to identify the problems and issues in the training and employment of a Filipino carer that could be largely attributed to the differences and the lack of knowledge and understanding about the two countries’ cultures.

After an introduction and brief explanation about the Workshop, the participants were first divided into 2 groups, one comprising of Japanese representatives from nursing homes that have been employing Filipino carers; and another group whose members were Filipino long-term residents of Japan who hold Homehelper Level 2 license who are currently working as carers in Japanese nursing homes and hospitals. In the Japanese group, Prof. Yumiko Goto (Hagoromo International University) asked about the participants’ opinions on the difficulties in training and employing Filipino carers as well as about the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) which allows government-to-government recruitment of Filipino nurses and carers from the Philippines.

On the other hand, Prof. Ma. Reinaruth D. Carlos of Ryukoku University facilitated the group work in which the Filipino carers were presented two episodes, (1) the concept of jiritsu shien (support to the elderly in order to achieve self-reliance) and (2) working as a member of a team and teamwork and then asked about what they were going to do in these circumstances. The Filipino participants also expressed their opinions about their “image” of a co-worker who is difficult to work with, as well as their sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in being a carer in Japan.

In the next part of the Workshop, all participants were gathered and Profs. Goto and Carlos gave presentations about what were discussed in the group work. Prof. Goto reported, among others, that the language problem, which is reflected in the Filipino carer’s inability to make documentations and read Kanji, is the main reason why foreigners often receive lower wage rates than their Japanese counterparts. Moreover, she pointed out that without the full support and understanding of the Japanese staff, it will be difficult to train the foreign carers.

Prof. Carlos in her report emphasized that the Filipinos may have ideas on the concepts presented in the group work which are different from those of the Japanese due to cultural differences. However, as expressed by the participants, these differences are not irreconcilable. The flexible and observant characters of the Filipinos have allowed the participants to be able to adjust to their work as carers. She also noted that most of the participants feel a strong sense of fulfillment in their work as carers.

Prof. Sachi Takahata of Hiroshima Kokusai Gakuin University then facilitated the question and answer session after which she made an integration and analysis of what were discussed in the Workshop. She acknowledged that indeed there are problems and issues in employing Filipino carers arising from cultural differences that may take time to be resolved. She emphasized that social environment and training are important in overcoming these differences in culture and achieving transcultural communication in caregiving. The strong efforts and collaboration of the following parties: (1) the Filipino workers, especially the more trained (sempais), (2) human resource agents (haken-kaisha), and (3) staff in the workplace (genba) are indispensable in achieving smooth communication in the workplace.