Volume 2, Issue 1 November 2021, pp. 17–33 Download PDF

Regular Articles

Migrant oriented Japanese language programs in Tokyo: A qualitative study about language policy and language learners

Seunghun J. Lee https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5634-55831, & Machi Niiya https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2754-26112

1 International Christian University, SOUTH AFRICA seunghun@icu.ac.jp
2 Colorado College, USA g195004r@alm.icu.ac.jp

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/mle.v2n1.489


Language proficiency is identified as one of the most important factors for successful migrant integration. Japan has had a sizeable increase of migrants in the past few years, and these migrants needed to build their Japanese proficiency. Focusing on municipalities in the 23 Tokyo wards, we surveyed what types of Japanese as a Second Language (JSL) programs are available, and how this information is disseminated to the public. It was encouraging that the central government and the government agencies of Tokyo have created language policies and produced handbooks for JSL teachers. All except one ward in Tokyo offer information about JSL programs in their respective ward, and many programs were run by the municipalities or by volunteer groups, suggesting an institutionalized move for supporting language education for migrants. We also identified two points that need to be considered for a better language education system for migrants: (a) a need for a certification program for JSL teachers and (b) a need for developing a language proficiency test that does not assume studying in an academic program.


© Seunghun J. Lee, Machi Niiya

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

Lee, S. J., & Niiya, M. (2021). Migrant oriented Japanese language programs in Tokyo: A qualitative study about language policy and language learners. Migration and Language Education , 2(1), 17–33. https://doi.org/10.29140/mle.v2n1.489

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