Deborah Milly, associate professor of political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, has spent the fall semester in Japan examining proposed policies that allow foreign-born nurses and caregivers to live and work in the country. Milly's research is supported by the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award she received earlier this year. 

More workers are needed to meet the high demand presented by Japan's rapidly aging population. According to the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, by 2025 almost one in every three persons in Japan will be 65 years of age or older. Proposed policies include a new resident-status visa and nursing-care trainee programs for foreign workers.

"I have had daily access to media coverage, commentary, and expert workshops in a way that is simply impossible when following issues online," Milly said. "The opportunities for interacting with experts and persons with a stake in the health-care and nursing professions are abundant."

Milly is connecting with representatives of care-providing businesses, vocational training schools, nongovernmental groups, and gerontologists to understand their positions on the developments. She is also meeting with national and local government officials.

During her stay, Milly has been affiliated with the Institute for Social Science at the University of Tokyo.

Milly's award is part of the Fulbright Flex program that allows shorter stays in the host country for scholars unable to spend extended periods of time abroad or whose research requires multiple trips. She will teach at Virginia Tech during the upcoming spring semester and will return to Japan in the summer to continue her project.

Milly has authored two books: "New Policies for New Residents: Immigrants, Advocacy, and Governance in Japan and Beyond" (Cornell University Press, 2014) and "Poverty, Equality, and Growth: The Politics of Economic Need in Postwar Japan" (Harvard University Asia Council, 1999). In 2000, she received the Masayoshi Ohira Memorial Prize, an award established for works that contribute to Asian-Pacific understanding and cooperation.

She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University, a master's degree from Sophia University in Tokyo, and a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan. 

The Fulbright program is administered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program provides students and faculty members opportunities to study or conduct research in more than 100 countries around the world.

Written by Rommelyn Conde Coffren

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