• Kyodo News

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Public schools are accommodating an unprecedented number of foreign students struggling to learn Japanese, while nearly 30,000 of them have been found to require constant help in learning the language, an education ministry survey showed Friday.

Publicly run elementary, junior high and high schools nationwide reported a record 28,575 students who they thought need to learn Japanese to keep up with classes or communicate in daily life as of last September, up 13 percent from a year earlier, according to the survey results.

The number of such students increased for the sixth consecutive year and 24,250 of them, or 85 percent, actually have received language training.

The survey results come amid increases in the number of foreign workers who have settled in Japan in the past decade and raised their children here. Ministry officials said there is a plan to secure personnel capable of teaching Japanese, including retired teachers, to help improve the situation.

The ministry’s latest survey shows that students whose mother tongue is Portuguese form the largest bloc, at roughly 40 percent, followed by Chinese at 20 percent and Spanish at 13 percent.

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