Activity Reports (October, 2009)

The Japanese-Language Proficiency Test 2009: Now It Is Held Twice A Year!

On Sunday, July 5, 2009, the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) took place. It is a test to evaluate and certify the language proficiency of primarily non-native speakers of Japanese. The Japan Foundation has been administrating JLPT outside Japan with cooperation of local institutions. (The administrator of JLPT in Japan is Japan Educational Exchanges and Services, and in Taiwan is Interchange Association, Japan.)

Counting from the first test in 1984, it was the 26th because the test had been held once a year in December. In response to strong demands from within and outside Japan, however, it is decided that the test will be held twice a year. The first test in 2009 was held only in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan, and was limited to Level 1 and Level 2. In China, the following cities were added as test sites: Nanning (Guangxi autonomous region), Weifang (Shandong province), Yangzhou (Jiangsu province), Kunmin (Yunnan province), and Haikou (Hainan Province).

Photo of the examinees waiting for the start of the test (Donghua University in Shanghai)
Examinees waiting for the start of the test
(Donghua University in Shanghai)

Since it was the first time in JLPT history to be held in July for twice-a-year implementation, it received a great amount of attention on how many applications there would be. As a result, approximately 290,000 applications were submitted in Japan and abroad: about 250,000 examinees actually took the test. China had the largest number of applicants, accounting for nearly half of the entire applicants. We are very pleased to find out the fact that one more chance in a year increases the number of people who try to take the test.

Table of the number of Applicants and Examinees by Country of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test in 2009 (July)
Number of Applicants and Examinees by Country of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test in 2009 (July)

Smooth administration of a test with such a huge number of examinees cannot be achieved without cooperation of local institutions in each country. Many people supported JLPT in preparation activities such as implementing public relations, receiving applications, arranging test sites, providing instructions to test supervisors, as well as in post-examination process, without mentioning the actual operation on the day of the test.

Photo of the instruction seminar for proctors and assistants (at Queen's College in Hong Kong)
Instruction seminar for proctors and assistants
(at Queen's College in Hong Kong)

While the first test in 2009 was limited to specific levels and countries, the second test will be held on Sunday, December 6 in Japan and 55 countries and regions abroad for Levels 1 through 4.

The years of 2009 and 2010 are significant turning points for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. In addition to twice-a-year implementation as described above, JLPT is revised and the new version will be implemented in July 2010. The contents and sample questions of the new version are provided in the Japanese version of official website of the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test. Please take a look at it!


Center for Japanese-Language Testing

Page Top