Japan's swelling ranks of elderly citizens could soon be receiving care from Cambodians if one NGO’s plan comes to fruition.
The Japanese-funded Japan and Cambodia Interactive Association (JCIA), which already operates one vocational training centre for the poor and disabled on the outskirts of the capital, says it plans to open a centre in Phnom Penh this year to teach Cambodian youths how to take care of the elderly.
“After they finish their training looking after the elderly, they will have two choices: being sent to work in Japan or, if they don’t want to work there, they can use their skills in Cambodia,” said Tho Bunthy, director of the JCIA-run Por Sen Chey Social Development Centre.
Nursing is an unpopular career choice for Japanese youths, a fact that has required an influx of foreigners from countries including the Philippines to take care of the country’s rapidly aging population, said Bunthy.
Bunthy added that the JCIA did not know yet how many people the centre would train, although it was preparing to request a licence from the Ministry of Labour, with training courses expected to last five to six months.
On Tuesday, JCIA director Fumio Yamada met with Labour Minister Ith Samheng, who, while welcoming the project, urged Japan to make it easier for Cambodians to work there.
“Cambodia wants to send more workers to Japan, but it is difficult, because the Japanese government’s criteria are a bit strict for education and experience,” Samheng said in a statement obtained yesterday.