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Tweet of the Week #88: 400 Nurses Resign After Being Told They Won’t Get Their Bonus

Learn how to seek and give advice in Japanese with this week's (maddening) tweet.

By 5 min read

So far, by luck or by design, Japan has dodged the worst of the pandemic. And if the country’s medical system was dangerously overloaded in the past weeks, the much-feared full-scale collapse luckily didn’t happen.

Japanese hospitals, however, have another story to tell.

Fear of the virus kept patients at bay for months and hospitals’ profitability took a serious dive across the country. Facilities that heroically accepted COVID-19 patients while others were turning them away got the worst of it. Forced to shut down, some medical institutions are now financially strained to the point of barely staying afloat.

Amidst this growing crisis, netizens were shocked by the news of Tokyo Women’s Medical University Hospital’s decision not to pay nurses their annual summer bonus. Disbelief was quickly replaced by anger when the information was confirmed in the news.



“It’s incredible to see how everyone is equally enraged in the staff reviews of the hospital that won’t give bonuses because of corona. ”

The hospital board blames the decrease in revenue and a serious deficit, but the decision was perceived as merciless in a country where companies facing bankruptcy usually make the effort to pay reduced semi-annual bonuses. In Japan, these incentives aren’t so much performance-related as an integral part of the wage system and account for a substantial part of workers’ annual salaries.

Depriving nurses of their rightly deserved compensation for hundreds of hours of overtime and putting their lives and family at risk was the last straw for many of them. As a result, 400 employees allegedly handed in their resignation. The hospital website now shows 350 open positions for April 2021, a rather large number that attracted people’s attention.



A hospital hiring 350 new staff because 400 people resigned over not being paid their bonus is no good.

If the current financial state of Japanese medical institutions is cause for concerns, a discussion between the worker’s union and Tokyo Women University Medical Hospital board’s lawyers revealed that from the board’s perspective, it could be just a matter of hiring the right number of new nurses to face the workload.










“About 400 care workers from TWMU resigned.

‘If you lack manpower, you can just rehire.’

This is it!

This article is the (board’s) lawyer’s answer but this shows the management’s way of thinking, no matter how much time passes, this will always be a dark place!

They’re thinking that after all, they should just hire (new) nurses with money.

They’re treated like disposable things.

This is ridiculous!!”

The rather cold lack of consideration for veteran employees sparked outrage among the netizens, with rumors spreading that the hospital budget deficit is linked with bad management and that members of the board are investing ¥600 million to move into brand new offices.

Officially, the Japanese government is aware of the burden medical institutions are facing right now and promised to provide more financial support through the healthcare system. But administrative processes are in the way of fast action. Japanese Communist Party members pointed out this terrible situation on July 2 during the Health, Labour and Welfare Committee’s meeting, urging the committee to work faster.




“Four hundred care workers deprived of their summer bonus allowance resigning from a university hospital which desperately took on COVID-19 patients will probably be Reiwa Era major news.”

If it’s unlikely the hospital will reconsider its position, we can at least bet these 400 strong nurses and care workers will find employment where they’re better valued.

Seeking & giving advice in Japanese using the conditional ば form

The form is one of the many conditional forms the Japanese language has. Used in a lot of set phrases, you should remember that generally speaking, conditional clauses following the form can’t express any form of intention, such as a command, request, invitation, or wish.

Among its many usages, the form is often used to seek out advice as in “what/when/how should…”.

どうすればいいですか。= What should I do?

いつこたえればいいですか。= When should I answer?

And vice-versa, is also used to make suggestions or give advice as in “I think you should…” or “why don’t you…”.

パーティーにけばいいじゃない。= I think you should go to the party/Why don’t you go to the party?

足りなければ補充すれば良い = if you lack manpower, you should just hire (more people).

Additionally, while the negative form is grammatically possible, Japanese people tend to use the form for positive outcomes. Finally, verbs with the form translate as and “if and only if” hypothetical statement with a predictable outcome.

天気てんきが良ければ、散歩さんぽします。= If the weather is fine, I’ll go for a walk.

かなければ、わからない。= If you don’t ask, you won’t understand.


Japanese Romaji English
コロナ korona Coronavirus
ボーナス (なつボーナス) boonasu (natsu boonasu) Bonus (summer bonus)
なくなる nakunaru disappear, be gone
病院びょういん byouin hospital
くちコミ kuchi komi review, word of mouth
一様いちよう ichiyou ni equally
ブチれる buchi kireru be enraged, flip out
める yameru quit (a job)
新人しんじん shinjin new staff
募集ぼしゅうする boshyuu suru hire
ダメ dame no good
東京女子医大とうきょうじょしいだい toukyou jyoshi idai Tokyo Women (University) Hospital
看護師かんごし kangoshi nurse
退職希望たいしょくきぼう taishyoku kibou request to resign
りない tarinai be short of, be lacking (manpower)
補充ほじゅうする hoshyuu suru refill, replenish (here: hire)
記事きじ kiji article
弁護士べんごし bengoshi lawyer
回答かいとう kaitou response
かんが kangae way of thinking, reasoning
経営陣けいえいじん keieijin management
いつまでっても itsu made tatte mo no matter how much time passes
現場げんば genba In this context: workplace
真っ黒まっくろ makkuro dark
しょせん shyosen after all
やと yatou hire, employ
ディスポ deisupo disposable
あつか atsukai treatment
ふざけてるよね fuzaketeruyone This is ridiculous, are (you, they) kidding?!
必死ひっし hisshi ni desperately
患者かんじゃ kanjya patient
れる ukeireru take in
大学病院だいがくびょういん daigakubyouin University hospital
無支給むしきゅう mushikyuu without providing
退職たいしょくする taishyoku suru quit, resign
令和れいわ reiwa Reiwa Era
最高さいこうのニュース saikou no nyuusu major, key news
天気てんき tenki weather
sanpo suru go for a walk


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