Japanese Government Acknowledges the Importance of Conversational Japanese for Foreign Workers

One of the major challenges that foreign nationals have to deal with as a direct consequence of working in a non English speaking country is the difficulty in understanding and comprehending daily conversations both at company premises and in the society in general due to the apparent language barrier. It is thus essential for foreign workers who aspire to land a gainful employment in Japan to have at least a working knowledge of Nihonggo or the official Japanese language.


Photo credit to: https://www.straitstimes.com/

This is precisely the reason why the Japanese government through its National Diet still impose the requirement of possessing at least N4 level in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test for foreign applicants who wish to work and reside in Japan under the “Specified Skilled Worker” visa. The language requirement is necessary before qualifying under the new visa type in addition to passing the specified skills test to be conducted by the particular industry or sector that the foreign national seeks to apply for.


In order to ensure that the foreign worker is able to effectively assimilate in the Japanese society and perform his or her duties and responsibilities at work efficiently, it is necessary that foreign workers must have at least a conversational level of the language.


Since the foreign applicant will be working in a Japanese speaking company in which most of the people do not regularly converse in English, it is essential for foreign workers to be able to communicate and interact with their foreign workers using understandable Japanese. Moreover, a working knowledge of the language is important to further understand the country’s culture and tradition.


The basic gauge for evaluating Japanese proficiency is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). The said exam has a set of standards depending on the specific level that the examinee intends to achieve. Based on the Specified Skilled Worker visa, both for the first and second category, foreign applicants must obtain at least an “N4” level in the Japanese Language Proficiency Test.


Reference: Specified Skills


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