Work–Life Aspirations of Foreign Nurses in Japan: Lessons from the Lived Experience of an Indonesian Male Nurse | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


Implemented since 2008, the Japan-Indonesian Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for the Nurse Trainee Scheme has been beset by two main problems a below 10% success rate in the national nursing exam which trainees have to sit for after some 3 to 4 years of training; and ii) an increasing number of trainees who choose to return home despite having passed the exam. The difficulties surrounding this scheme has thus seen only about 150 qualified Indonesian nurses in Japan today. Yet, little is known about the actual experiences and aspirations of this minority group of qualified Indonesian nurses. In this paper, using an in–depth case study of the work and life history of a qualified Indonesian male nurse who has worked in Japan for over ten years, I explore how lived experiences can help throw light on needed interventions in both Indonesia and Japan to improve on the placement, support and integration of Indonesian nurse trainees in Japan. Discussions will focus on social conditions, personal motivations and social-cultural networking patterns that facilitate the entry and success of a nurse trainee in Japan. Income and social status disparities between Indonesian and Japanese societies will be highlighted as important factors shaping the nature of return migration as well as longer residency in Japan. While closed immigration policy continues to undermine long-term residency for foreign workers, a vista of hope has opened up with a relaxation that allows an EPA worker to bring in dependents to live and study in Japan.


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