News Japan's Foreign Ministry to Expand Outreach Program
posted on 2008-01-02 13:06 EST
Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be expanding its overseas Japanese-language outreach program, which has the dual purposes of spreading Japanese language and culture, to at least ten times its current size over the next three years. Starting this year, it will hire "new Japanese-language teachers who are versed in manga, fashion, and other aspects of the latest Japanese culture." The Japanese government already supports 10 overseas Japanese-language learning centers with about 3,000 students, but those will expand to 100 to 200 centers in the next three years. 210 million yen (about US$1.8 million) is being allocated to add 70 of those additional centers this year.
Japan is hoping to emulate the model of France, which has 950 overseas French-language centers with 580,000 students. The initiative is also being planned in response to China's efforts, which have created 188 similar centers in Southeast Asia and other regions in the past two years. Japan's initiative is related to the previously reported 147 million yen (US$1.3 million) that will be allocated to spread anime, manga, and other elements of Japanese popular culture through 30 Japanese teachers in Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania.