Roughly 3,000 Japanese language teachers will be sent to the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) between now and 2020 under a new initiative to be introduced in April.

The Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange said on March 20 that it plans to launch a new Asia Centre to oversee the project to deepen ties between Japan and the regional countries of Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Despite an increase in Japanese learners overseas, teachers, especially native speakers, are still lacking, Japan Foundation President Hiroyasu Ando told a press conference in Tokyo.

The assistant teachers, chosen from applicants ranging from university students to senior citizens, are likely to serve in local high schools. The first group is scheduled to leave for Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines this September.

He added that a total of 30 billion yen will be allocated to the project, which is expected to enhance the quality of Japanese language education abroad.-VNA