Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Details

Onuki, H. (2011). The global migration of care labour: Filipino workers in Japan. In R. Mahon & F. Robinson (Eds.), Feminist Ethics and Social Policy: Towards a New Global Political Economy of Care (pp. 60-74). Vancouver: UBC Press.


This chapter focuses on the implications of a new agreement between Japanand the Philippines as a way of exploring the contradictions and tensionssurrounding the migration of Filipino care workers to Japan, where, as YukiTsuji (this volume) argues, a rapid expansion of the aging population accompaniedby a dramatic shrinkage of the Japanese labour force has triggeredheated debates over how to cope with the acute demand for elder"care:' The Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) - the bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement [EPA] signed in September 2006 and ratified in December 2008, which allows for the Philippines tosend up to four hundred nurses and six hundred care workers to Japan overa period of two years (MOFA 2006) -was described in the Japanese media as "[a] new step toward opening Japan's labour market" (Asahi Shimbun2006). The government of Japan has also signed a similar EPA with Indonesia,which includes the same clause, permitting Indonesian nurses andcare workers to work in Japan (MOFA 2007b). Given Japan's strict immigrationregulations regarding the entry of so-called "unskilled" workers/such deregulation of the inflows of "foreign" labour to Japan is remarkable,especially in terms of care workers whose professional status has not yetbeen verified in the Japanese labour market (Son 2007; Takagi 2006).