Research Activities
SYMPOSIUM The Filipino Residents in Japan as Potential Care Workers: Realities and Challenges
1st Meeting (Group 3)
■Speaker :Ms. Yukako Ueno, Mr. Junta Shinozawa, Mr. Takaharu Hayashi, Ms. Maria Fe Harada, Ms. Anabelle Majima, and Mr. Wako Asato
■Place :Consortium of Universities in Kyoto / Kyoto Campus Plaza Conference Rm 3
■Date :November 6, 2005
■Number :050301
With declining birthrate, aging population and thus upcoming labor shortage in the elderly-care industry in Japan, an option to bring in care workers from abroad has come up for debate. Less attention has been paid to long-time foreign residents, but that specific aspect was the focus of the discussion in the symposium “The Filipino Residents in Japan as Potential Care Workers: Realities and Challenges” held last November 6, 2005.

Ms. Yukako Ueno, a manager and trainer of a nursing home, is very positive about hiring foreigners because (1) there is a serious labor shortage in the market; (2)the nationality of the care worker has no relation to the quality of service, and (3) globalization has potentially positive impact on the moral upliftment of care workers. Mr. Takaharu Hayashi, who runs a temporary staffing agency, noted the deteriorating conditions surrounding foreign workers and their families, and advocated caregiving training as a viable way for their economic and social integration. He also suggested that for foreigners to take the home-helper training course, language competency should not be a requirement but the result. Mr. Junta Shinozawa, who runs a planning and publication company on Philippine matters, shared how Filipinos take full advantage of their cell phones as dictionary, and that majority of them are female in their mid-to-late thirties interested in landing a job welcomed by the society.

Filipino care worker Ms. Maria Fe Harada believes from her own experiences that foreigners are capable of home-visiting care work. Another Filipino Ms. Annabelle Majima shared her strong sense of achievement as a care worker, though her disclosure about her 16-hour work shift drew gasp from the audience. Finally, Mr. Wako Asato from the academic point of view introduced the experiences of Taiwan and Singapore in receiving workers from abroad, and stressed that management system such as training for Japanese medical/social workers or bilingual manuals and forms, is the key to succeed in this undertaking.

The symposium was very well attended by various stakeholders including representatives from nursing homes, Filipino community, church, civic organizations and Filipino Consulate in Osaka. The proceedings of the symposium is in print.