About the JFT-Basic
Objective of the Test
The Japan Foundation Test for Basic Japanese (JFT-Basic) seeks to measure the level of Japanese language proficiency needed by foreign nationals about to reside in Japan mainly for work, to communicate in everyday life situations. It is used to assess whether they have the Japanese language proficiency to be able to engage in everyday conversation to a certain extent and handle daily life without difficulties. The test evaluates Japanese language competence based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment (CEFR) and the JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education , a framework for Japanese language education grounded on the principle of using the Japanese language to facilitate mutual understanding among people. (The JF standard was developed based on the concepts supporting the CEFR by the Japan Foundation.)
The JFT-Basic is also used as a test to measure the level of Japanese language proficiency needed to obtain the residency status of “Specified Skilled Worker (i),” which began in April 1, 2019. Please visit the following for more information on Specified Skill eligibility.
Target of the Test
This test is for foreign nationals who are not native speakers of Japanese.
In particular, it is aimed for foreign nationals about to reside in Japan mainly for work.
This test is conducted through Computer-Based Testing (CBT). Questions are set and answered on computers at test centers in each country. In booths, test-takers answer on the computer screen based on questions displayed on the screen and audio played through the headphones.
Figure 1: CBT screen
The test questions and choices are displayed on the central area of the computer screen. In addition, the section name, test name, time remaining and status of answers are displayed on the borders of the screen.
Figure 2: Question screen
Figure 3: Pop-up of the problem in local language
In the test, problems are displayed in English. Problems can be read in your local language by clicking on the Your Language button.
Read the problem to understand the setting or situation and answer the question. For listening comprehension, press the play button to play the audio playback. To answer, click on your choice. The color of your selected choice will change.
- Related information
- To know more about how to operate the test screen, please refer to this link.
This test is composed of four sections: Script and Vocabulary, Conversation and Expression, Listening Comprehension, and Reading Comprehension. The purposes of this test structure and questions are shown in Table 1. There are approximately 60 questions, and the test time is 60 minutes. There is no time limit for completing each section.
*You can scroll horizontally.
|Section||Purposes of the section||Category||Purpose of category|
|Script and Vocabulary（Around 15 questions）||To test if the test-taker is able to read Japanese texts used in everyday situations, and whether the test-taker has the basic vocabulary and is able to use it.||Word Meaning||To test the meaning of a word.|
|Word Usage||To test the usage of a word.|
|Kanji Reading||To test the hiragana pronunciation of a word written in kanji.|
|Kanji Meaning and Usage||To test the meaning and usage of a word written in kanji.|
|Conversation and Expression（Around 15 questions）||To test if the test-taker is able to use the grammar and expressions necessary for conversation in everyday situations.||Grammar||To test if the test-taker can use the appropriate grammar matching the context.|
|Expression||To test if the test-taker is able to use the appropriate expression matching the context.|
|Listening Comprehension（Around 15 questions）||To test if the test-taker is able to listen to and understand conversations, instructions, etc. in everyday situations.||Comprehending Content (conversation)||To test understanding of contents by listening to an exchange of information or social exchange.|
|Comprehending Content (communicating at shops and public places)||To test understanding of contents by listening to an exchange at a shop or public place.|
|Comprehending Content (listening to announcements and instructions)||To test understanding of contents by listening to instructions and announcements, audio media, etc.|
|Reading Comprehension（Around 15 questions）||To test if the test-taker is able to read and understand letters, notices, explanations, etc. in everyday situations.||Comprehending Content||To test reading of a short and simple letter, message, etc.|
|Information Search||To test if the test-taker is able to find the necessary information from an everyday billboard, notice, information material, etc.|
Summary of Linguistic Competence and Levels
This test follows the framework of the CEFR adopted by The JF Standard for Japanese-Language Education as a guideline for the kind of tasks the test-taker can accomplish using Japanese, and uses the test-taker’s competence in accomplishing tasks as an indicator of their level. Competence in accomplishing tasks is presented as their “Can-do” (description of linguistic competence) and is divided into six levels: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, and C2. Please refer to Figure 4 below for an illustration of the levels.
With test questions based on A1 to A2 levels of Can-do in the CEFR and the JF standard, the test comprehensively assesses the Japanese language communication skills required for daily life situations in Japan in four sections: Script and Vocabulary, Conversation and Expression, Listening Comprehension, and Reading Comprehension. Using the necessary “ability to engage in everyday conversation to a certain extent and handle daily life without difficulties” for working in Japan as a guideline, this test determines if test-takers are sufficiently proficient in Japanese at the A2 level. A summary of the linguistic competence required for A2 level is shown in the middle section of Table 2 below.
|Level||Summary of linguistic competence|
The CEFR Global Scale: Common Reference Levels
Test Result Notification
Test-takers will be notified of the test results as follows.
- On the day of the test
- The total score and assessment results will be displayed on the screen at the end of the test.
- Within 5 business days after taking the test
- The test-taker can download the official notification of assessment results on the registration website after logging in.
Figure 5 Notification of assessment results
The official notification of assessment results includes the total score and the assessment results based on the score. The total score is not simply the sum of the number of correct answers. It is a scaled score calculated using a statistical method called “equating.” The range of the total score is from 10 – 250 points. If the total score is at or above the passing score (200 points), the examinee is assessed to have reached a level of Japanese language proficiency to be able to engage in everyday conversation to a certain extent and handle daily life without difficulties. The percentage of correct answers for each section will also be included for the examinee’s reference.
Also, the official notification of assessment describes how to view the Japanese language level on the 2nd page. Please visit“Summary of Linguistic Competence and Levels”for contents.
You can try the JFT-Basic sample questions. There are a total of eleven sample questions presented, with one question for each category in four sections. You can check the testing method, test contents and the level of each category through these sample questions in Computer Based Testing (CBT).
※There may be differences with the question screen on the actual test.
Document Describing the Test
This is a document in slide form, which compiles the contents above and gives an overview of the JFT-Basic. Please feel free to download and use it.