CULCON XXVIII Joint Meeting; Japanese Language Education Council (JLEC) Report Provisional Japanese translation【PDF:1.4MB】; English textExternal link

JLEC’s Recommendations

Joint Statement from CULCON XXVIII Joint Meeting;
Provisional Japanese translation【PDF:322KB】, excerpt from English textExternal link

JLEC issued a Report to analyze the status of, and make recommendations on revitalization, expansion and promotion of Japanese-language education in the United States. and presented it to CULCON XXVIII. In the Survey Report on Japanese-Language Education Abroad 2015External link, the number of learners is increasing in the United States, but a decrease was seen in the number of teachers. JLEC proposed fifteen specific recommendations in four main areas: 1) training and support of Japanese-language teachers; 2) improving and enhancing Japanese-language educational materials; 3) developing Japanese-language education infrastructure; and 4) understanding the needs of the local communities. Therefore, the CULCON Panels recognized the potential for alumni of the JET Programme to acquire the necessary skills and credentials to become new Japanese-language teachers in order to respond to the current developing needs of Japanese-language learners. The CULCON Panels also recognized that expanding the numbers of Japanese-language teachers or assistant teachers from Japan is equally crucial. The Panels encouraged stakeholders, especially American Association of Teachers of Japanese (AATJ) and the Japan Foundation, who play vital roles in supporting Japanese-language education in the United States, to act on and work collaboratively further to achieve the objectives set out in the JLEC report.
The Panels agreed to continue to monitor Japanese-language education in the United States as part of the ERC, and to add an additional Japanese-language expert from each side.

15 Recommendations of Measures to Strengthen Japanese Language Education

(excerpts from JLEC Report)

Based on the current situation and challenges in Japanese-language education in the US, JLEC makes the following proposals for the future, together with specific measures.

  1. 1.Train and support Japanese-language teachers
    1. A.Support to increase the number of non-native Japanese-language teachers
      1. (1)Consider conducting special seminars to improve Japanese-language proficiency among JET Program participants
      2. (2)Provide training before JET Program ends and introduce former JET Program participants on websites
      3. (3)Consider granting special academic credits to former JET Program participants
    2. B.Support to increase the number of native-speaking Japanese-language teachers
      1. (1)Reinforce the programs sending Japanese-language teachers to the US
      2. (2)Expand international teacher programs throughout the US
      3. (3)Convince the US to recognize licenses related to Japanese-language teaching earned in Japan when a Japanese individual takes a Japanese-language teacher position in the US
    3. C.Support to increase the number of both non-native-speaking and native-speaking Japanese-language teachers
      1. (1)Enhance the support system for Japanese-language teachers
    4. D.Training leaders of Japanese-language teachers for the next generation
  2. 2.Enhancing cooperation (articulation) between different educational levels
  3. 3.Maintaining and increasing the number of teaching posts at higher educational institutions
  4. 4.Increasing the status of Japanese-language assessments (AP, IB and SAT)
  5. 5.Support for Japanese-language teaching institutions and related organizations
  6. 6.Advocacy activities for local communities and local education administration
  7. 7.Collaboration with Japanese companies
  8. 8.Future importance of education in Japanese as a heritage language
  9. 9.Support for immersion education
  10. 10.Support for projects to encourage Japanese-language study
  11. 11.Japan study tours for Japanese-language learners
  12. 12.Consideration for self-taught Japanese language learners
  13. 13.Utilization of online education and IT
  14. 14.Collaboration between Japan Studies and Japanese-language education
  15. 15.Necessity of coordination in Japanese-language education

About JLEC

1. JLEC’s Objectives

(1) Analyze and assess the current status of Japanese-language education in the US and identify issues to address
(2) Make recommendations on expansion and promotion of Japanese-language education in the US

2. Background of JLEC’s Establishment

(1) In 2013, the Education Task Force (ETF) recommended promoting US-Japan exchanges in the education field, including the need to strengthen education on the partner country language in each country (English-language education for Japan and Japanese-language education for the US).
(2) At the CULCON executive session in September 2015, CULCON decided to establish the Japanese Language Education Committee (JLEC) as a spin-off of the Educational Exchange Review Committee (ERC), given the special nature of Japanese-language education.

3. JLEC Members

Members in Japan

  • Masako Egawa (Co-chair; CULCON panelist; Professor, Graduate School of Commerce and Management, Hitotsubashi University)
  • Suzuko Nishihara (Director of NPO Research Institute for Japanese Language Education)
  • Koichi Tanaka (Audit & Supervisory Board Member of Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co., Ltd.)
  • Matthew S. Sussman (Executive Director, Japan-US Educational Commission [Fulbright Japan])
  • Robert Campbell (Director-General, National Institute of Japanese Literature)  
  • Masayuki Suzuki (Managing Director, Japanese-Language Department, the Japan Foundation [until December 2017])
  • Harufumi Murata (Managing Director, Japanese-Language Department, the Japan Foundation [from January 2018])

Members in the US

  • Leonard Schoppa (Co-chair, CULCON panelist, Professor, Department of Politics, University of Virginia)
  • Shin Donowaki (Ex-President, Japan Commerce-Association of Washington, D.C., Inc. [until December 2016])
  • Shinichi Hori (Japanese Language Education Support, Japan Commerce Association of Washington, C.C., Inc. [from January 2017])
  • Deanna Marcum (CULCON panelist, Managing Director at Ithaka S+R)
  • Susan Schmidt (Executive Director, American Association of Teachers of Japanese [AATJ])
  • Motoko Tabuse (Professor, Department in World Languages, Eastern Michigan University, former president of AATJ)

4. JLEC’s Activities to Date

September 2015
JLEC established at CULCON executive session
April 2016
First JLEC Japan Meeting in Tokyo
May 2016
Second JLEC Japan Meeting in Tokyo
June 2016
US-Japan Chairperson Meeting (Tokyo)
August-October 2016
Interviews with Japanese-language education institutions (Japan/US)
・Interviews with those involved in Japanese-language education around the US, US education foundations, JET participants, and distance education participants (Washington, D.C., Chicago, LA, Virginia and others)
・Japanese-language education institutions in Japan targeting Americans (Yokohama, Kyoto, others)
November 2016
Release of results of 2015 JPF Survey on Japanese-Language Educational Institutions
November 2016
Third JLEC Japan Meeting in Tokyo
January-March 2017
Survey on Japanese-language education institutions (Japan/US)
・Japanese-language education institutions on US bases in Japan (elementary schools, high schools, universities, other)
・Japanese-language education institutions and Japanese companies in Texas (Dallas and Houston)
June 2017
First JLEC US-Japan Meeting in Tokyo
November 2017
Second JLEC US-Japan Meeting in Washington D.C.
June 2018
JLEC Report【PDF:1.4MB】 submitted to CULCON XXVIII meeting 15 recommendations of measures to strengthen Japanese-language education were made in four sectors, and this marked the end of activities. Going forward, the Education Review Committee (ERC) will take over and follow-up through 2020.