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A Comprehensive Guide on How to Become a Foreign Nurse in Japan


The advanced healthcare in Japan, the increasing number of ill patients, and the aging populations result in increasing demands for healthcare professionals in the country. Aside from the higher chance of acquiring a job in Japan, the country also offers attractive salaries and benefits to nurses. In addition, Japan is also filled with very welcoming and genuine people, making it a very safe place to live in. It is also known for having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, therefore it would definitely be a great opportunity for aspiring nurses to work in the country.

About the Country

Shinto, Japan’s first religion, Buddhism, and Confucianism are key components of the Japanese religious tradition. In Japan, Christianity has been a tiny movement. This represents a basic understanding of Shint and Buddhism as a collection of practices or a way of life that may be practiced with other beliefs. Furthermore, except for individuals who feel profoundly tied to their religious identity, most people do not have or exhibit significant religious sentiments.

The Japanese community is very safe and welcoming to foreigners. Aside from that, there are several benefits of living in Japan. 


Similar to other Asian countries, there are many convenience stores in almost every corner, to provide individuals with basic necessities, hot meals, medicine, liquor, and more. 


If you have been to Japan, you would know that you could conveniently live in Japan without owning a car. The transportation in the country is very efficient; they have trains called “bullet trains” which move at speeds up to 240-320 km/h. This could get you in the location you have to be in immediately. 


The food in Japan is very delicious. They are known for the freshest seafood, and vegetables. They serve dishes such as sushi, ramen, tempura, yakisoba, and these can be bought at affordable prices. 


The healthcare in Japan is universal, and it is known as one of the best in the world. Hospitals are provided with cutting-edge equipment, and physicians and nurses are well trained. Medicines are more potent as compared to those found in other nations, which implies that doses will be greater, and most drugs will require a prescription.

Based on the data during 1981-2018, obtained from the Commission on Filipino Overseas (CFO), Japan has been one of the top three countries, in which Filipino emigrants choose to go. The emigrants in the country comprise an estimate of 6.21 percent of the total Filipino emigrant population during 1981-2018, which shows that there are many Overseas Filipino Workers working in Japan. With this, you may feel less lonely as you could easily meet fellow Filipinos along streets or workplaces. There are also organizations, such as the Filipino Nurses Association in Japan, where you could meet and talk with other Filipino nurses.

Type of Nurses

There are four types of nurses in Japan, namely, Public Health Nurses, Midwives, Registered Nurses, and Assistant Nurses. 

Public Health Nurses

Public Health Nurses work with health guides in the public sector. They often work in public health facilities, public administrations, hospitals, schools, and industries. They are also considered as healthcare professionals who carry out activities, such as methods for entering communities. With these, they are able to identify the prevalent health concerns in a particular community and attempt to solve them by strengthening partnerships and engagement with inhabitants.


Midwives provide care for women during pregnancy, and birth processes. Although most of the midwives in Japan work at hospitals, the midwives in the country may also work at home. 

Registered Nurses (RN)

Registered Nurses may work in a wide-range of areas, such as hospitals, private clinics, public clinics, and more. They could also choose to specialize in a certain field. They also provide assistance to doctors during procedures, and to patients with any problems that may arise.

Assistant Nurses

Assistant Nurses in Japan are known as the only type of nurse that may work without acquiring a professional license. They provide assistance to Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses. They have a wide range of responsibilities, which include laundry washing, cleaning, as well as office duties in nursing care. Improving nursing assistant motivation is critical for every hospital because when nursing assistants execute their jobs successfully, registered nurses have more time.

Work Sectors

Nurses in Japan may choose in areas, such as hospitals, clinics, public health centers, maternity homes, nursing homes, and rehabilitation centers.


Most of the nurses in Japan work at hospitals, which are healthcare buildings larger than other facilities. Hospitals provide treatment that is specialized, and admit patients. 


Clinic is a type of healthcare institution that provides outpatient services and main healthcare requirements of residents in their areas. They can be held either privately or publicly. 

Public Health Centers

Public Health Centers are government facilities that focus on medical concerns  that affect the general public. Its principal function is to protect against infectious infections and chronic health issues. It monitors air and water quality and accredits hotels, restaurants, barbers, and other businesses. Finally, it gives mental and chronic sickness sufferers health consulting.

Maternity Homes

Maternity Homes are facilities that help pregnant women, who are unable to confide in their parents or partners. 

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes are places for older individuals to locate and get medical treatment for their illnesses, which are mostly associated with old age. As a result, it is a place of residence for persons who require continuous nursing care and have significant difficulty dealing with the demands of everyday life.

Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation Centers are medical facilities, which provide complete care. Their patients have a variety of functional and other impairments that interfere with their everyday activities. With this, they provide services ranging from symptom relief to social rehabilitation. They can also be specialized in a certain subject, such as assisting individuals with drug and alcohol issues, assisting people with impairments, and more.


Salaries of nurses in Japan greatly depend on the amount of experience, qualifications, and shifts you hold. Aside from that, your job position could also affect your salary. The average salary of nurses in Japan is 418,000 JPY (₱174,604.09) monthly. Nurses with more experience, and higher job positions often earn as much as 661,000 JPY (₱276,108.37) per month, whereas entry-level nurses earn an average salary of 196,000 JPY (₱81,871.77)monthly.

Demand for Nurses

There is a high demand for nurses in Japan due to the nursing shortage in the country. With this, the country has established numerous initiatives to reach out to the nearby countries to recruit nurses and other healthcare workers. One of which is the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA), which is an agreement between Japan and the Philippines that permits the Philippines to send nurses, caregivers, as well as other healthcare workers. This is due to Japan’s great need for nurses and healthcare staff.


According to, the best hospitals in Japan are listed below.

  1. The University of Tokyo Hospital
  2. St. Luke’s International Hospital
  3. Kurashiki Central Hospital
  4. Kyoto University Hospital
  5. Juntendo University Hospital
  6. Osaka University Hospital
  7. Kameda Medical Center
  8. Kyushu University Hospital
  9. Teikyo University Hospital
  10. NCGM Center Hospital

In order to be able to work as a nurse in the Japan, you must fulfill the following qualifications:

Educational Requirement

According to Act on Public Health Nurses, Midwives, and Nurses, article 19 states that “A person who has graduated from a foreign school or training school for the practice or who has received Licensure equivalent to Public Health Nurse Licensure in a foreign country, whom the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare finds to have knowledge and skill equal to or greater than the person’s set forth in the preceding two items.”. This implies that you may work in the country even if you graduated from your country of origin, provided that the education and license you obtained are from establishments recognized by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. 

Aside from your educational requirement, you must also be able to speak the Japanese language proficiently at N1 level.


In order to work as a foreign nurse in Japan, you must have a minimum of two years of clinical experience in your country of origin. However, in order to apply for the JPEPA program, you must have a minimum of three years of clinical experience at a hospital. This does not have to be continuous. For instance, you could opt to work for a year in a particular hospital, and work two years in another hospital. It is important to take note that you must work at a hospital; it will not count if you work as a nurse in a company or clinic.


The Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare administers the National Examination for Kangoshi (Nurse), which is required to be taken by the foreign nurses who aspire to work in Japan. The exam is in Japanese, which is the reason why many nurses find it difficult to successfully complete this exam. Therefore it is important for you to be proficient in the Japanese language. It is also important to take note, however, that your nursing license must first be recognized by the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, in order for them to permit you to take the exam. 

Prior to submitting your application, make sure that you fit the requirements stated above, to avoid any delays in the process. Study for the exam in advance to secure excellent scores. Once you have successfully submitted all the necessary documents and requirements, you are now one step closer to becoming a nurse in Japan. Good luck!


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  • Japan’s foreign nurses: disinformation, lack of support shows struggle for new arrivals – The Mainichi. (2019). Retrieved 6 May 2022, from,national%20nursing%20test%20in%20Japanese
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