Japanese Government to Encourage Foreigners to Learn Japanese

Japanese is one of the languages I study. While it is a difficult language to learn (in comparison to English), I find it an extremely rewarding one. I do like to watch “Cool Japan,” a program on NHK TV that introduces a group of foreigners to Japanese culture and language. Here’s an article about the effort by the Japanese Government to increase the number of foreigners who learn Japanese: Yomiuri Shimbun in japancrush.com, March 26, 2013

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan has established a policy on strategy for diffusion of Japanese language education overseas.

A preliminary meeting is going to be held on March 26 by an advisory body of well-informed independent personalities to discuss further countermeasures and an interim report is supposed to be wrapped up by this summer. It’s likely that support to increase Japanese classes at overseas schools is going to be considered.

The government has already launched ‘Cool Japan’ to spread Japanese culture abroad such as anime or fashion. This policy is also part of this whole project.

The advisory body is going to be led by Kimura Tsutomu, a former president of Tokyo Institute of Technology. It consists of 10 people; specialists in Japanese language education, academic experts, workers in media and at business firms. Using examples from European countries that have already set up parastatal language schools overseas, the committee is going to discuss how to support Japanese language education abroad and improve the diffuse of it via foreign diplomatic missions.

The number of overseas subsidiaries of Japanese companies is 18,599 as of March in 2011 and had risen 1.5 times in the 9 years from 2002, which has brought a new significant issue: how to secure adequate local human resources with Japanese speaking abilities. Domestically, labour shortages, particularly in the nursing care industry have been a major issue mainly caused by an ageing population combined with the diminishing number of children. However, there have been many cases for nursing candidates guaranteed emmigration from Indonesia and so on according to the Economic Partnership Agreement to return to their own countries due to language deficiency.

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