Japanese Government Committed to Enhance Nihongo Class for Foreign Residents

Since the Japanese government relaxed its immigration laws effective April 1, 2019, more and more foreign nationals are looking forward to seek for long term employment in the Land of the Rising Sun. With the introduction of the new visa program, the country seeks to attract more than three hundred forty five thousand overseas workers over the next five years especially in the fourteen sectors identified to suffer a chronic labor shortage. These industries include food and service establishments, nursing care, accommodation as well as farming and agriculture.


Photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

While Japan has successfully opened wider doors of opportunities for foreign nationals, another challenge for these job seekers is how to overcome the language barrier in order for them to perform their tasks effectively and to be able to integrate into the Japanese society. However, recent surveys show that Japan lacks a constructive system to make sure that high quality of Japanese language education for foreigners is properly maintained.


This June 2019, the Tokyo University of Social Welfare reported that more than one thousand six hundred foreign students currently enrolled in the Nihongo language program can no longer be located. According to the Education Ministry of Japan and the Immigration Bureau, the university was under-staffed. As a result, the university was remiss in fulfilling its duty to provide support to students who failed to attend classes over a prolonged period of time.


In order to address this alarming issue, the Japanese government is constrained to impose upon itself the responsibility to boost Japanese language learning for foreign or overseas workers. Last June 21, 2019, the National Bicameral Legislature of Japan passed a bill which states that the central and municipal governments of Japan are in charge of promoting Nihongo or Japanese language education for foreign residents. Under the proposed legislation, the Japanese government shall introduce important legal and fiscal measures to ascertain that foreign residents in Japan coming from different walks of life will be able to receive Nihongo education according to their individual preferences and circumstances.


Reference: New law states gov’t responsible for teaching Japanese to foreigners


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