Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was told by an expert panel to support the growing interest in Japanese language among the Southeast Asian nations. The panel proposed on Monday for more language teachers to be sent to these countries to assist those who are interested in learning Japanese.
According to the panel, graduate students, seniors, and universities can be utilized by sending them to members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The government is also urged to support domestic firms by providing employment opportunities, which would also serve as a benefit, for those who have studied Japanese. The panel has 11 members and is headed by Masayuki Yamauchi, a professor emeritus of the University of Tokyo. Other members include film director Takeshi Kitano and fashion designer Junko Koshino. They were also calling for improving cultural exchanges with the Southeast Asian nations.
Studies made by the Japan Foundation released in July revealed that there is a growing interest in learning the Japanese language among people from the region. In 2012, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia showed a significant increase in number of Japanese language students. Thailand had an increase of 64.5 percent in Japanese language students with its 129,000 enrollees. Malaysia, with 33,000 students, had an increase of 44.7 percent. As for Indonesia, there were 872,000 who studied Japanese, an increase of 21.8 percent from 2009.
Besides promoting Japanese culture to the region, the expert panel encouraged importing the region’s cultures to Japan. Those would include the field of entertainment through animation, movies, and TV programs. They also urged the government to beef up collaboration with organizations in Southeast Asia that would improve and preserve Asian culture and inheritance.