Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Umeda Kunio in an interview with Vietnam News Agency (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A programme to improve the training of Japanese language teachers in Vietnam was launched in Hanoi on October 24.

The programme, part of activities to mark the 45th founding anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations, was organised by the Japanese Embassy and the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam.

Addressing the launching ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Umeda Kunio said at the International Conference on the Future of Asia in June 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his wish to enhance the training of Japanese language teachers in three Asian nations.

His embassy and the Japan Foundation highlighted the necessity of this work in Vietnam in their proposal submitted to the Japanese government. As a result, Vietnam was chosen to be one of the three countries in the programme, alongside India and Myanmar.

[Nearly 90,000 people learn Japanese in Vietnam]

Emphasising the two countries’ strong relations and the need to train Japanese language teachers, he noted there are about 290,000 Vietnamese in Japan at present, up 6.5-fold in the last seven years. They include 130,000 apprentices and 80,000 students, whose demand for learning Japanese is high. Additionally, the number of people wanting to learn Japanese in public education establishments in Vietnam is also rising.

Therefore, improving the quality and quantity of Japanese language teachers is an urgent need, Kunio said, adding that 75 high schools in Vietnam teach Japanese, and some primary schools have also piloted the language as a subject.

The ambassador attributed the rising demand for learning Japanese partly to the increasing number of Japanese firms investing in Vietnam. Total Japanese investment in the country hit a record of 9.1 billion USD in 2017 and 6.5 billion USD in the first half of this year.

He voiced his hope that the programme will be meaningful for both countries and enhance bilateral friendship.

Introducing the programme, Director of the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam Ando Toshiki said it comprises two courses, including one on training new teachers and the other giving intensive training to existing teachers. The first will begin in December and last for about four or five months, while the second will be carried out from now to March 2019.-VNA