• Kyodo

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The Japanese government has recruited people from Singapore and the Philippines to teach English in public-run schools in Japan, Japanese officials said Wednesday.

It is the first time Japan has recruited people from Asia to teach English under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program, which is run by local governments in cooperation with the Japanese Foreign Ministry and other ministries.

Eight people have been selected from Singapore after being interviewed, all of them university graduates with a fluent command of the language, according to the Japanese Embassy here.

“The interview was held to assess pronunciation. They do not necessarily have an American or British accent but they must speak good English,” said a Japanese diplomat.

The teachers will arrive in Tokyo on July 23 and, after a period of orientation, will be sent to various parts of Japan to work as Assistant Language Teachers at junior high and high schools.

They have been hired on one-year contracts that can be renewed twice. The teachers will receive an annual remuneration of 3.67 million yen.

Only citizens of Singapore and the Philippines have been selected from Asia to teach English under the JET program because English is widely spoken in those countries.

“Some Asians speak perfect English, so it’s natural for JET to open the doors to Asians as well,” the diplomat said.