Japanese Government To Encourage Foreign Japanese Learners

Japanese government wants to encourage more foreigners to study Japanese.

Have you studied any languages other than your own mother tongue? Would you find studying Japanese more attractive if there were more opportunities to study outside of Japan? What would this bring to Japan or other countries? Should this be financially supported by the Japanese government?

There are both positive and negative feelings among Japanese netizens towards the new policy on Japanese language education established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. It also brings up the question of English speaking ability in Japan. What do we really need?

From Yomiuri Shimbun:

Foreign Ministry Creates Strategy to Increase Number of Foreigners Who Can Speak Japanese

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.

Comments from Twitter:

Yusuke Furuichi:

Easier than increasing English speaking Japanese persons – we study English for 6 years but can’t even speak a bit.

申請取次行政書士 柴田信志:

The visa criteria for long term residents now includes the Japanese speaking ability but the more fluently they could speak the language, the more salary they’d get – that’d motivate them to study Japanese harder I reckon.


#Japanese #Abroad #Anime #Yomiuri Let’s buy some whole anime series popular among foreign people and broadcast each story online; Japanese classes with several anime characters would increase Japanese studying population abroad. Well students would probably be amazingly biased though.


Part of Cool Japan and trying to increase Japanese speaking foreigners…Sorry don’t really understand what they’re talking about and what all of this is going.


Remember what it’s like when you go abroad on business trips or for sightseeing! They speak with us in their own languages no matter where we’re originally from. Likewise, in Japan, we should just speak with foreigners in Japanese.


For Cool Japan, the methodology is wrong and it’s becoming a means to an end. It’s also possible that creating high quality anime or games would bring more people and income here in Japan. The most important thing is to improve the work environment for those creators, isn’t it?


However, no students from Toku-A please!


This is important. They don’t have to speak perfect Japanese, if they understand a bit, that would make it a lot easier for us to communicate with them.


Finally the government has started this kind of thing. 10 year delay though.


Is this Cool Japan?


This is off-topic, something is wrong.

Takakazu Nozawa:

This, now, after 40 years of delay? There should be reasons to learn. Plus anime fans don’t struggle with the Japanese language any more.

Yoda Makoto  知技心で繋がる:

Surely it’s just a quick way to make Japanese teaching jobs more attractive.


Too late. Should have done this in the economic bubble days.


Wait! More English-speaking Japanese people! I first thought so, but the article is right, Japanese-speakers are also necessary. Translation is always a problem at my company too.


Southeastern Asians have a lot of drive.

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