Interview with the Minister of Education

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (May 7, 2013)

Japan's Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura. REUTERS photo

Japan’s Education Minister Hakubun Shimomura. REUTERS photo

Mr. Shimomura, the Minister of Education, Culture , Sports, Science, and Technology, has just returned form his visit to European nations. Reflecting on his tour, he commented on the urgent necessity of shifting the paradigm of Japanese language education abroad. In the past, the target population of Japanese language education abroad was children of Japanese citizens, who intended to return to Japan in the near future. Recently, there has been an increase in the number of Japanese children who are not planning to return to Japan. Many of these children are biracial, having a Japanese parent who hopes to instill and nurture his/her children’s identity as Japanese. In response to this need, the MEXT will generate an plan on how to spread Japanese language education globally.
In addition, the MEXT plans to suggest other nations to teach Japanese in public schools. For example, the UK, has a plan of teaching seven foreign languages in elementary schools soon. However, in the current plan, Japanese is not included as one of those seven languages. The MEXT will communicate the ministry of education in the U.K about how important it is to teach Japanese to prepare global citizens, who can contribute to the world economy.

For more information:

Council proposes lowering age for English education

Japan’s ambitious proposals for higher education and language sectors

LDP takes aim at English education, seeks to boost TOEFL levels

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