Vietnamese trainee nurses and caregivers can now stay in Japan for one more year after their official training period as the country is facing a shortage of medical professionals.
The decision, announced by the Japanese government on Friday, will give the trainees another chance to take and pass qualification exams to qualify for work in Japan.
Since 2014, Vietnam has sent trainee nurses and caregivers to Japan under an agreement between the countries. After the official three or four-year training, the candidates will sit national examinations in order to keep staying and working in Japan.
It’s estimated that about 470 Vietnamese medical staff members are working in Japan.
Japan's shrinking and aging population is causing severe labor shortages for the world’s third largest economy.
Noboru Yamamoto from the Japan Hospital Association reportedly said that the country, with 32.7 million people or 25.75 percent of the population aged over 65, needs around 300,000-400,000 orderlies from other countries over the next 10 years.
Japan’s labor data showed that China and Vietnam are the two main sources of foreign workers. Last year, China made up over 30 percent of non-Japanese labor force while Vietnam came second with around 16 percent.
The construction sector in particular is facing a dearth of workers needed for rebuilding following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and for the 2020 Olympics.