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Gov’t aims to boost number of foreigners who speak Japanese.

29 Comments

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.

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29 Comments
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A good start would be helping pay the expensive part of these language schools. Also, it seems that most of these language schools are concerned with passing a paper test and not enough emphasis is placed on actually speaking.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

What exactly is the purpose of "Cool Japan"? If it's for tourism, sending teachers overseas to promote non-Japanese learning Japanese doesn't really seem like an efficient way to boost tourism.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Is it proving to difficult to improve the number of Japanese who speak English?

4 ( +5 / -3 )

Exporting 'unemployment.'

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

We just got done hiring a person at my company. All too often foreigners (American/Australia usually) apply despite not having the language skills we need (JLPT level 2 at least).

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Instead of teaching the world Japanese, why not teach the Japanese English instead?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Help pay for language schools. Encourage young Japanese women and men yto go overseas, make friends and promote Japanese image. Do nmore to promote Japanese culture abroad. Make it easier to get visas to stay in Japan and learn language.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

ElvensilvanMar. 29, 2013 - 12:41PM JST "Instead of teaching the world Japanese, why not teach the Japanese English instead?" Because not everything is around English, and because their goal is to promote their language and culture, makes sense to me.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

While better late than never I suppose......................

Japan shud have done this bigtime starting about 25years ago but they couldnt be bothered.

Now that China has been beefing up teaching Chinese outside China Japan is trying to jump on the band wagan, like I said 20+yrs too late, Japan missed the boat sadly

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The thing is .. for bilingual foreigners (who speak usually Japanese, English and their native language) why would they work as a crappy care assistant in a Japanese nursing home?

The salary is ridiculous, the working hours are ridiculous, the holidays are ridiculous. Racism is still rife and they are probably never going to get promoted, regardless of how good at their job they may be. If they went to a English speaking country they would early much more, and get many more breaks, and be treated as an equal.

And ... generally people outside Japan don't really want to learn Japanese. Sad but true.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Seriously, Japanese people have a problem about language.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Working conditions for foreigners are still appallng - often not taken seriously and feeling in a state of limbo regarding job security. Even competent Japanese speakers are not always taken seriously because they look different.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Peter PayneMar. 29, 2013 - 12:16PM JST We just got done hiring a person at my company. All too often foreigners (American/Australia usually) apply despite not having the language skills we need (JLPT level 2 at least).

Step one would be getting rid of this sort of attitude. If I want to work in France or Germany (I speak business-level French and German) they do NOT ask me for a bit of paper. Instead I get an interview, conducted in French or German, and maybe I'm asked to read a random piece of paperwork. A French or German certificate is only required if you want to TEACH these languages, with the understanding that business level competence requires both a different vocabulary and a different level of proficiency.

Instead the JLPT instead sets a very high standard, conflates the teaching and business qualifications, and generally is a mess of a test. I know plenty of new graduates who walk into Japan with JLPT 2 ... and can't function in business because they lack the speaking ability, the business vocabulary (which differs sharply from that in the test), etc.

Step 1 in speading the Japanese language would be Japanese institutions acknowledging that the JLPT is a lousy test for business proficiency, and completely unnecessary.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

"Cool Japan" is essentially a make-work programme for out of touch old men to pretend they are promoting something which might have made some sense 20 years ago but which now is essentially an oxymoron. The first step in any Cool Japan project is to gather a panel of "experts" at taxpayers' expense.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Great idea, all i favour it it i am. thanks and good luck.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I really wonder if Japanese is a useful skill especially when living outside of Japan. I visited the famous(infamous) Olympus U.S headquarters in PA a few years ago and my colleague told me no one in the whole building could speak decent Japanese. I myself live in Japan and ever since I quit my Japanese company, I seldom use Japanese besides ordering food and other simple stuff. Japanese companies expect their foreign employes to be bilingual(or trilingual) but won't pay a yen more(sometimes less) than to a unilingual Japanese employee. In Canada, I think my Japanese skills are pretty useless, Chinese or Spanish is probably much valuable. Good luck J-gov.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What about helping out people already in Japan?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All I can say is good luck. While people may be able to speak some most will remain illiterate in Japanese due to the Kan

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

If they want people to learn Japanese outside Japan, they need to make it less expensive for Americans to pay for the Japanese channel on US TV. It is one of the most expensive channels we are offered ($25 a month) while other nation's channels are often only $10 a month.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, sounds pointless. I've been self-studying Japanese because I want to and I've always wanted to have a second language. Saving up for a rosetta stone full 日本語 course because I've learned the kana system and I'm still working over the kanji, but my conversational Japanese is practically nil. Sending Japanese language teachers outside of Japan is a waste of money as only those who want to immigrate to Japan should be the ones that are taking the time to learn the language.

Japanese kanji is a LOT easier to learn than me attempting to learn 中文.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

What about helping out people already in Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Step one would be getting rid of this sort of attitude. If I want to work in France or Germany (I speak business-level French and German) they do NOT ask me for a bit of paper. Instead I get an interview, conducted in French or German, and maybe I'm asked to read a random piece of paperwork. A French or German certificate is only required if you want to TEACH these languages, with the understanding that business level competence requires both a different vocabulary and a different level of proficiency.

The poster that you replied to did not say they required a 'piece of paper'. Only skills that are equivalent to what that piece of paper says the job candidate should have.

The JLPT has basically evolved into a job screening mechanism over time. The reason is because Japanese HR wants to see some sort of evidence of Japanese literacy before they spend an hour interviewing someone. Time is money. The most common ways to screen for Japanese ability is to look for the following signs on their resume:

Japanese university education A really good cover letter (in Japanese) JLPT certification Lots of work experience in Japan

Most candidates from abroad do not have 1 or 4. Having 2 and 3 is a good sign that you might be interviewing someone who can have a decent conversation in Japanese and not someone who is going to waste an hour of your time....hopefully :)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Upgrayedd Apr. 01, 2013 - 11:08AM JST The poster that you replied to did not say they required a 'piece of paper'. Only skills that are equivalent to what that piece of paper says the job candidate should have.

The poster I replied to wrote:

Peter Payne Mar. 29, 2013 - 12:16PM JST We just got done hiring a person at my company. All too often foreigners (American/Australia usually) apply despite not having the language skills we need (JLPT level 2 at least).

Peter Payne made no mention of equivalence, simply the JLPT. My response was based on what he wrote, and an entirely legitimate criticism of Peter Payne's position, as stated.

I acknowledge that your position, one based on recognition of a broader range of experience, is a far more legitimate and sensible approach, however your criticism of my post is unjustified.

You are putting words into the other poster's mouth that are simply not there, and criticising my post unfairly. He stated just one criteria, I criticised his post on that basis.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Its a good thing indeed. We are also increasing Japanese speaking engineers in our company. Also in Nepal, where our company has our branch opened.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What about helping people who are already here? That's why Hello Work is "giving out" something like 100,000 yen a month for 6 months just to let the unemployed study Japanese and other courses. Of course, 6 months is too short for an in depth study.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

trinklets2.

You forget that you have to have been employed for at-least 1yr to get those benefits. 10man won't even pay for your apartment, utilities and food.

Never mind the 5man+ you pay for a decent japanese school every month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My nihongo no sensei is originally from Tokyo and is teaching here at a community college in Northern Virginia. Maybe the demand is higher here because of its proximity to DC, but the classes always seem to be full.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JLPT?? Useless. What use is a test without an oral conversation element?? And full of useless grammar nobody uses and too many reading passes to properly digest in the time allotted. I passed grade1 (now N1) as it gets you the job you want but I really hated studying for it and doing the actual test. The English step tests seem far superior from what I've seen.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

my my.. a lot of complainers here i see.

If you don't like Japanese, simply don't learn it. Learn something that makes you happy :)

i hear a lot of depressed, hateful, negative people in here. not the type for international travel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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