【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.40: Shortage of Nursing Care Workers

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

In January 2018, the Japanese Nursing Association announced 2016 data analysis results from job offers and nursing care job seekers registered in prefectural nursing centers. A prefectural nursing center is an institution to support the employment of nursing care workers. As shown in Table 1, nursing care workers are classified into the four job categories: nurses, assistant nurses, public health nurses, and midwives. The total number of jobs increased from 1,333,045 in 2006 to 1,634,119 in 2015 with more than 30,000 of growth per year. The number of male nurses also increased from 31,594 in 2004 to 73,968 in 2014 (Table 2).

However, the number of nursing job seekers was 67,000. This was much less than the 160,000 job offers. Thus, the job offer ratio to nursing job seekers is 2.41. As nursing needs continue to increase as the population ages, the number of nursing care workers required in 2025 is estimated at about two million. One of the reasons for the shortage is that there are too many hospitals as mentioned in Column No.3. As long as small to medium sized medical facilities are managed separately, the efficiency in the whole healthcare delivery system will not improve.

Table 1 Total number of nursing care workers


(Source)Japanese Nursing Association

Table 2 Number of male nursing care workers


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