Special Seminar on Philippine migration

Date and Time: June 22nd, 2018 16:00 – 18:00
Venue: Tonan-tei on the 2nd floor of Inamori Memorial building, Kyoto University
Moderator: Prof. Hau Caroline, CSEAS, Kyoto University

Thinking Beyond the State: Migration, Integration, and Citizenship in East Asia
Johanna Zulueta

Human mobility has been a widely examined phenomenon in the social sciences, and in this increasingly globalized world, migration continues to be of significant concern. The chapters in this book address the need to think beyond prevailing state discourses in problematizing human movements between Japan and the Philippines, by focusing on the presence of other actors involved in this migration process/es. This volume also investigates a range of issues that are part and parcel of the migration experience: citizenship and nationality, illegality, migrant incorporation and integration, human security, migrant welfare, philanthropy, identity, and multiculturalism. This book aims to inform the larger public of the realities that are embedded in this particular phenomenon, as well as engage academics who are themselves involved in studies of migration. This book will also be of interest to those who are interested in the East Asian region, most particularly in Japan and the Philippines.

Johanna Zulueta is Associate Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the Faculty of International Liberal Arts, Soka University, Japan

Presentation 1:
A Decade After the Birth of JPEPA:
Overcoming Policy Failure of Healthcare Workers’ Migration Scheme
Ron Vilog

The Japan – Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) was signed in 2006 to further facilitate the movement of commodified goods and services. A crucial feature of the treaty entitles Filipino nurses and caregivers to work in Japanese healthcare and medical institutions. Since its implementation in 2009, eight batches of health workers had gone through language training and internship before taking the licensure examination. Nonetheless, the overall results of the licensure examinations indicate extremely low passing rate. These exam results, combined with scholarly analyses and independent/ non-government policy evaluation suggest that the JPEPA scheme is approaching the point of policy failure. Thus, this paper argues that the JPEPA scheme requires policy reforms that are not only anchored on the Japanese government’s political agenda and interests. Beyond institutional / politically driven amendments, policy reforms should consider the self-sustaining nature of migration along with its socio-cultural dynamics.

Ron Bridget Vilog is Associate Professor and Chair of the International Studies Department, De La Salle University, Manila

Presentation 2:
Filipino Domestic Workers to Japan: Issues and Concerns
Hiroya Takamatsu

The administration of Shinzo Abe has been pushing for more Japanese women to enter the labor force to address Japan’s current economic situation. “Womenomics,” as it is known, is seen to boost the sluggish economy by encouraging more female participation in the workplace. Japanese women usually quit work upon giving birth to take care of their children and only go back to the workforce when their children have grown. Most of them though occupy part-time positions when and if they decide to return. With this, the Japanese government announced a new policy of allowing domestic workers to enter Japan and work in Japanese households to ease the additional burden of housework on Japanese women. In 2016, Japan started accepting domestic workers from the Philippines. While the acceptance of Filipino domestic workers is a recent development, the authors point out that Filipinos have been working as domestic workers in the country, but mainly under the employ of foreign expatriates. They argue that domestic workers are vulnerable to abuse and other work-related problems, and thus, these workers’ rights to decent work and protection should be promoted “in law, policy, and practice,” both locally and internationally. The authors also hope that the new Japanese policy will be guided by effective policy implementation for the protection of the workers in this sector.

Hiroya Takamatsu is a Ph.D. Student of Social and Human Sciences of the School of Environment and Society, Tokyo Institute of Technology