Japanese has been identified as one of the “most vital” languages to the UK over the next 20 years in the British Council’s Languages for the Future report, published on November 20th 2013.
The list of 10 languages featured in the report were chosen based on economic, geopolitical, cultural and educational factors including the needs of UK businesses, the UK’s overseas trade targets, diplomatic and security priorities, and prevalence on the internet.
One of the reasons for the importance of Japanese to the UK given in the report is that Japan is the world’s third largest economy and a significant contributor to UK prosperity. The UK is by far the biggest destination for Japanese investment in Europe, with 1,400 Japanese companies located here. Japan’s roles in science, technology and development assistance were also highlighted in the report.
Despite this, currently only 1% of the UK's adult population report that they speak Japanese well enough to hold a conversation. There is therefore a clear need continue developing Japanese language provisions in the UK at all levels, including schools, universities and colleges.
There are many ways in which you can help to support Japanese language education in the UK:
- If you wish to learn Japanese yourself, take a look at our information for potential learners here, as well as the range of courses we have on offer. We also have a wealth of free online resources for independent learners, as well as around 10,000 books and other materials in our library. Lists of primary schools, secondary schools and universities that teach Japanese can be found here.
- If you are a school or other educational institution looking to start Japanese classes, take a look at our information here. Our many support services for schools starting Japanese include funding, resources, training and Japanese taster sessions. Institutions looking to start Japanese are encouraged to get in direct contact with the Japan Foundation as soon as possible for full details on how we can help you.
- Anyone interested in supporting Japanese at primary level can register with our Primary Japanese Campaign – click here for more details.