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July 31, 2008

Contracts signed for Indonesian workers in Japan
A total of 208 Indonesian care workers and nurses are scheduled to come to Japan on August 7 as candidates to work in various parts of the country under a bilateral economic

partnership agreement, Kyodo news agency quoted Japanese government sources as saying Wednesday.

According to a compilation by the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, the 104 care workers and 104 nurses have concluded employment contracts with entities in 34 of Japan's 47

prefectures, the sources said.

Under the EPA which took effect July 1, the Japanese and Indonesian governments agreed that 300 care workers and 200 nurses will come to Japan for the first year.

But as the total this time is less than half the targeted number, those involved with the implementation process are expected to consider ways to improve recruitment of participants for

the second year on.

The candidates from Indonesia are set to go through language and other training at Japanese government ministries and facilities of affiliated organizations for half a year, and begin

work at their respective destinations from late January next year, the sources said.

The care workers will return to Indonesia if they cannot acquire national qualifications in four years from their arrival in Japan, while nurses will have to do the same in three years' time,

they said.

Japan has concluded a similar EPA with the Philippines but procedures in the country for coming up with candidates to send to Japan have been delayed.

An EPA goes beyond a free trade agreement, which is aimed mainly at removing tariffs on goods and trade barriers for services, by also covering intellectual property rights and

investment protection rules.

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