• Kyodo News


An advisory panel to Foreign Minister Taro Aso proposed Wednesday that Japanese-language schools be set up in more than 100 locations worldwide within two to three years to boost Japan’s global profile.

The move is part of a set of proposals presented by the Overseas Exchange Council to raise worldwide interest in Japanese language and culture in the wake of a growing Chinese language boom.

The 17-member council is led by Toyota Motor Corp. Chairman Fujio Cho and tasked with seeking ways to market Japan to the world.

The panel said, in a report listing the proposals, it is concerned that “countries’ interest in Japan is declining against the backdrop of China’s rapid growth in recent years.”

In 1990, about 980,000 people were studying Japanese as a foreign language around the world, but in 2003, the number had risen to some 2.35 million, a Japan Foundation poll found.

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