by Megumi Takase
In “International Sociology” class, I was surprised to hear that in Europe, students from other backgrounds take two or three times a week to have lessons in their native languages. In Japan, some elementary schools in which there are many foreign students have Japanese classes for them to understand regular Japanese classes. However, few schools have lessons for immigrants in their own languages. In addition, there are not many ethnic schools in Japan. Even though foreigners living in Japan mostly consist of Chinese, there are only 5 Chinese Schools in Japan. If children from other countries continue to attend Japanese schools and don’t do vigorous effort to learn their history or culture, they will have difficulty in building their identities. This is one of the reasons why foreigners are unwilling to live in Japan for a long time.
In my opinion, Japan should institute an education system for immigrants. For example, it should begin classes for immigrants in their native languages. It not only benefits students from other countries but also Japanese. It will increase the number of immigrants if Japanese education system is reformed in favor of foreigners. Japanese is suffering an aging society, so Japan will face the problem of lack of labor in the near future. Thus, Japan should accept immigrants to solve these problems. In order for foreigners to be willing to come and live in Japan, Japan should create the environment for them to live comfortably. One of reforms which Japan should tackle is education system.
It will also lead to intensification of international competitiveness of Japan if many foreigners immigrate to Japan. It is said that Japanese have difficulty in speaking foreign languages. In the times of globalization, people who are fluent in many languages are needed. If immigrants grow up as bilingual and begin to work in Japanese corporations, they will largely contribute to corporations.
If Japanese government begins to institute an education system for immigrants, many people will come from other countries and live in Japan. They will serve Japanese society. It is difficult for schools to begin classes for immigrants in their native languages because immigrants come from different countries around the world. Schools should create these classes cooperating with the local universities specializing in foreign languages. It will also lead to create Japanese bilingual students.
[i] Weblio. (n.d.). Retrived October 17, 2013 from http://www.weblio.jp/ontology/%E4%B8%AD%E8%8F%AF%E5%AD%A6%E6%A0%A1_1