The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is planning to boost the number of Japanese speakers abroad. The ministry set up an advisory panel on March 26, discussing some points such as sending more teachers of Japanese to language schools abroad.
According to a Yomiuri Shimbun report, the government is aiming to expand the concept of “Cool Japan” and this program is part of it. The advisory panel will invite 10 experts in Japanese education including Tsutomu Kimura, former president of Tokyo University of Technology.
Taking European-style (semi-private) Japanese language schools as an example, the government aims to accelerate the popularization of the Japanese language.
As of 2010, the number of Japanese companies abroad was 18,599 (150% increase over 2001). Maintaining Japanese-speaking local staff has been a challenge for those companies. Meanwhile in Japan, there is a high demand for Japanese-speaking foreigners in the nursing care industry. Although the Japanese government has been accepting nurses and care workers from Southeast Asia such as Indonesia under the EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement), many foreign candidates have been unable to pass the Japanese-language certification test.© Japan Today